Photo: Miriam Kresh

Haricot beans with Mediterranean seasonings

This dish features navy beans, seasoned with sunshine herbs and a juicy red tomato.

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A pot of beans is a thing of beauty. Tiny black turtle beans that spill a juice like blue ink when they’re cooking. Big, floury white butter beans. Meaty, dark-red kidney beans. All the spotted and striped beans are there. They’re all good, nutritious enough to fill a major part in vegetarian and vegan diets. Not to mention delicious at any time of the year.

Here’s a pot of haricots, also known as navy beans, seasoned with sunshine herbs and a juicy red tomato. I sometimes serve this vegetarian stew over rice, but more often, I like it by itself in a soup bowl, with good bread and butter on the side.

There was plenty to start with. But what with the Little One and her ravenous friends and two out-of-town guests, the beans are disappearing fast.

Haricot Beans with Mediterranean Seasonings

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Prep10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Yield6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried haricot beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (unpeeled)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 large tomato (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne flakes (to taste)
  • 4 large sage leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary (about 3" long)
  • Water to cover and then some more (for soaking)
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Small handful of chives (finely chopped)

Instructions

  • Soak the beans in plenty of water, overnight or at least 6 hours.
  • Drain them and put them in a pot with fresh water to cover by about two inches, a splash of olive oil, the bay leaf and an unpeeled garlic clove.
  • Bring to a boil, lower the flame and simmer, covered – for 1 1/2 hours. The beans should be tender before you add the seasonings.
  • In a separate pan, sauté the onions in olive oil until soft. Add the tomato, bell pepper. Cook a few minutes, until the pepper softens, then add garlic.
  • Add the sage, rosemary, cayenne, black pepper and salt to taste. Stir everything up and cook 5 minutes over a low flame.
  • Pour the vegetable/herb mixture into the bean pot. Stir, noting if the beans have enough liquid. If it looks like they’re getting dry, add water, a little at a time. Cook the beans and seasoning 1/2 hour, stirring once in a while.
  • The beans are now ready. Sprinkle some chopped chives into the pan before serving.
  • They get even better over the next couple of days.

Note: You can substitute big, floury Great Northern beans. Add more cooking water if needed.

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