Thursday, April 29, 2010

White Bean and Tomato Gratin

Item # 2 in my "eating down the pantry" project. Dried White Beans. Did I already rant on here about how scarce the black bean supply is here in France? I believe I did. They just don't use them. No black bean burgers - no black bean quesadillas. Just not done. Tant Pis - I've got tons of white beans. Too much in fact.

So I set about eating them this week. Fun fact about white beans (more often referred to as cannellini beans at home) is that one serving of these magical little fruits has twice as much iron in it than a serving of beef. Eat that moo cow. Or beans instead of moo cows!

White Bean Tomato Gratin
3/4 cup dried white beans
1/2 cup veggie stock
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded gruyere
1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chili powder (or I bet this would be excellent with several liberal squirts of Shriracha instead of chili powder!)
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano or dried.
black pepper

1. Soak the white beans overnight (12ish hours). Normally I skip the soaking step for bean dishes - mostly because I puree a lot of stuff so it doesn't matter - but this time it does matter unfortch. They are the star of the show.
2. In a large saucepan, in new cold water, bring the soaked beans to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes then reduce the heat and let them simmer for up to an hour or until they are tender.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 (150-170 C)
4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the pepper and onion. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until they soften and start to turn a nice golden color. Add the tomatoes, veggie stock, oregano and the chili powder or sauce. Bring the whole mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, moving it around so nothing gets overly browned, for the next 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the beans, gruyere and black pepper to taste.
5. Put the whole mixture into a glass casserole or loaf dish. Top with the 1/4 cup of parmesan.
6. Let the gratin cook until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melty. Enjoy.

The next day when you have extra, spread a corn or wheat tortilla with a liberal amount of salsa, then several spoonfuls of leftover gratin, fold the tortilla in half and cook it 2-3 minutes on each side in a frying pan with a bit of pre-heated olive oil. Perfect quesadilla filling.

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