Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cannellini Beans

Beans, beans, they're good for your heart! Beans, beans, the magical fruit! I am so mature, right? Yeah, I am. There are several studies out there regarding beans and their gas-causing ways. There are a few factors that matter: the type of bean, the preparation, and the amount of fiber your body is used to consuming. Beans contain lots of fiber and resistant starches that take a bit more effort for your body to break down and digest, which ends up causing gas. If you're used to a fiber-rich diet (which honestly, you should be, it's good for you) then you won't have much of an issue. Anyway, I'm sure all this fart talk isn't increasing your appetite at all, so let's move on shall we?

Today's recipe was born out of desperation. I was making a Sunday roast (I wrote a bit more about Sunday roasts in my mustard roast chicken post - rhyming poetry!) and I had planned on roasting some potatoes, but guess what? We didn't have any potatoes! Oh no! It seems like I'm being dramatic, but this was our Easter Sunday roast so I wanted it to be special and I really wanted something on the table with that sort of creamy, potato-y feel. So I dug around in the pantry and found a can of white beans and just whipped something together. It turned out quite delicious, if I say so myself, so I'm sharing them with you guys.
Ingredients:
15 oz. can of cannellini beans
2 oz. salt pork or 4 slices of bacon
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 baby bell peppers, diced
1 bay leaf
½ cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
splash of heavy cream

Start by finely dicing up some onion and bell pepper and mincing a few cloves of garlic. Oh, and don't forget to drain and rinse the beans. Canned beans tend to have quite a bit of salt so if you've got some time, I would recommend soaking them in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes to draw out some of the excess sodium.
Get your pan over a medium heat - I used this cute little cast iron pan - and throw in some chopped up salt pork (or bacon). I saw salt pork in our grocery store for the first time (I'm sure it's been sold for a long time, I just hadn't happened upon it until recently). It was sitting next to the creepy looking hamhocks and I grabbed a package to use in some rice and beans. But, the amount of salt pork in each package is quite generous so I used it a bunch of times. It's been a yummy addition to several dishes.

Anyway, after the salt pork has crisped up a little and some fat has been rendered out, add in the bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Sweat the veggies for a few minutes until they're softened. Chuck in the canned beans, add in the stock and spices and stir. Then, snuggle a bay leaf right into the beans and let them simmer for about 20 minutes until the stock has thickened a bit.
Finish off the beans with just a splash of cream for richness.
Okay, so I have to share these photos of the yummy prime rib roast we had for our Easter Sunday roast. I seared the meat on all sides, cut little slits in the fatty top in which to snuggle cloves of garlic, and sprinkled with a generous amount of coarse salt, coarse pepper, and fresh rosemary. I snuggled an onion half on either side of the roasting pan, chucked the meat in a hot oven, and let it roast. This prime rib roast was about 4 lbs and I let it sit in a 450F oven for 30 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 350F and let it cook for another 20 minutes. The meat was just between medium and medium rare; it was perfect.
The meat rested for about 20 minutes before I sliced into it, which gave it time for the juices to redistribute so they wouldn't spill all over the cutting board like a horror movie.
I also whipped together some rice pilaf, roasted brussels sprouts, and a yummy tossed salad with a oil & lemon vinaigrette.
I really fell in love with these beans. And I'm not just saying that because I made them! They had that creamy element I was craving and there was so much flavor from the salt pork and the spices. And bonus, they're a lot healthier than creamy mashed potatoes so if you're watching your waistline, that's great. You know what else? I think they're so pretty.
Here's the recipe page:

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