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Etna Beans with Apples and Herbs Recipe

Etna Beans with Apples and Herbs Recipe

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Peggy Bourjaily is a seasonal eater and experienced navigator of New York City's farmers markets. Here is one of her fall recipes that is simple, light and delicious as a side dish or healthy lunch.


2 pounds Etna Beans shelled (other beans, fresh or dried will work. With dried beans, make sure you soak them properly before cooking.)

1 head of garlic, cloves separated and sliced

1 onion, sliced

5 sprigs of sage, leaves removed and stems tossed

5 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and stems tossed

1 apple, cut into quarters

4 cups chicken stock

Smoky Simmered Beans with Sofrito

The foundation of flavor for these savory, creamy beans comes from sofrito, a base of sauteed aromatics that Diaz grew up eating thanks to her Puerto Rican family. You will produce more sofrito than needed for this recipe, but you can store additional sofrito in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Use it as a base for soups, stews, and other bean dishes. Note: If using home-cooked beans instead of canned, you may need 1/2 to 1 cup of additional broth.

Transform Any Pot of Beans With Flavor-Packed Aromatics and Herbs

The virtues of canned beans can't be denied: They offer a significant time savings, are almost always cooked perfectly, and don't taste half bad. But whenever someone tells me that their dried beans don't taste much better than canned, I know instantly that they're not cooking the dried beans right. Follow just a couple of simple rules, and I guarantee that your cooked-from-dried beans will be worlds better than anything you can get from a can.

The first rule is to season them properly with salt. The common wisdom says to do that only after cooking them, but, as Kenji has shown, you should actually salt both the bean-soaking water and the bean-cooking water for best results. Since he's written about that at length, I'm going to focus on the second rule here: Always add aromatics to the pot.

It may sound too basic to be true, but aside from salt, there is no more drastic way to improve the flavor of your dried beans than to cook them with flavor-enhancing vegetables and fragrant, woodsy herbs.

There's very little to the method itself, which I use no matter the bean recipe. After soaking the beans and draining the soaking water, transfer them to a pot, fill it with cold water, and then add a bit more salt, along with whichever aromatics are available. Bring the water to a low simmer, then cook it all together until the beans are tender. Those aromatics in the pot will revolutionize the beans' final flavor.

The aromatics I tend to use are onions, carrots, garlic, and celery, and then heartier, woodsy herbs, like rosemary, sage, and thyme, which marry beautifully with the earthy-sweet flavor of beans. If I have rosemary, sage, and thyme, I might put a sprig of each in if I have only one of them, then I'll add a couple of sprigs. I try not to be too fussy about the specifics, and am extremely casual about quantities. If I don't have celery and carrots, then I'll just toss in an onion and a few cloves of garlic, plus the herbs. No herbs? Probably not worth a special shopping trip just to get them. If I'm at the market and know I'll be cooking some beans, though, I always try to grab the most essential aromatics (onion, carrot, and garlic) and at least one of the herbs.

That said, it's fun to experiment, as well as to keep the geographic origins of the dish you're making in mind. Maybe some leftover fennel bulb or fronds will find their way into my bean pot one day, or perhaps I'll reach for a different herb, like Mexican epazote, if I'm going to be making refried beans on another occasion.

On lazy days (i.e., most days, at least for me), I just toss the vegetables into the pot and deal with fishing them out later, which can be a little tricky after slowly simmering them to the point of turning them to mush. As for the herbs, I'll often tie up rosemary and thyme with some kitchen twine (or stash them in a tea infuser), since their small leaves can otherwise fall off and get scattered throughout the pot—a lazy person does not want to stand around hunting for rosemary needles in a pot of cooked beans, ever.

If I'm being particularly obsessive about my need to retrieve every last bit of the aromatics, I'll tie them all up in a cheesecloth bundle, making their ultimate removal extremely easy.

I'll leave it up to you to decide whether to go commando or create a cheesecloth sling, just as long as the aromatics end up in the pot one way or another. Because leaving them out isn't much better than reaching for the canned stuff.

Recipe: Great Northern Beans with Tomatoes and Herbs

This quick and easy recipe can serve as either a simple side for your grilled entrée or as a vegetarian main course.

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Two 15.5-ounce cans Great Northern beans
Olive oil cooking spray
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 large plum tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
Freshly ground pepper


  1. Place the beans in a colander and rinse well under cold water. Set aside.
  2. Coat a nonstick pot with cooking spray. Add the onion and carrot. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat, until the onion wilts.
  3. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, until the tomatoes soften.
  4. Stir in the red wine, rosemary and sage with the drained beans. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced by a quarter and the flavors have blended.
  5. Discard the rosemary and season with pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information

Calories: 160 (3% calories from fat)
Total fat: 0.5g
Saturated fat: 0g
Protein: 10g
Carbohydrates: 29g
Dietary fiber: 7g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 15mg
Potassium: 578mg

Apple-herb stuffing for all seasons

I have several stuffing-related confessions to unload today:

My first stuffing love was found at a friend’s house, when her mother served us an apple stuffing from a Pepperidge Farm mix that is no longer made, I presume because it’s not 1989. My god, did I nag my mother (who wasn’t terribly keen on packaged foods, meanie) to make it too. Sometimes she’d cave, though never often enough, but it didn’t stop me from growing up thinking that the dreamiest stuffing includes tart apples, celery, lightly caramelized onions and herbs, a dream I was repeatedly denied as a child and yes, I’m requesting a very tiny violin.

I think if you’re limiting your stuffing consumption to a single day in November, you are missing out. When you snip stuffing free of its holiday-specific tethers, it doesn’t take long to realize how welcome it could be speared onto your fork the other 364 days a year, a category it shares with latkes (as awesome at cocktail parties as they are for weekend breakfasts topped with a lacy-edged fried egg, and especially fitting this year), yule logs (for Thanksgiving or just the mega-Yodel of it) and fairy lights, which you should not even pretend aren’t as awesome strung across a yard on a July evening as they are outlining shutters and fire escapes in December. I would eat stuffing every week of the year if everyone would stop looking at me so strangely about it.

I am so insistent that stuffing tastes amazing during the breakfast meal with a loosely cooked egg on top, at lunch, aside a salad, instead of a roll, or dinner on days that are not Thanksgiving, in lieu of a grain or potato, that I went to extensive lengths to develop a recipe called Breakfast Stuffing (but really a Stuffing For All Meals) for The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, something of an herbed and savory but not really eggy breakfast strata, studded with my favorite stuffing flavors. I tested and tested and tested this. We enjoyed and enjoyed and enjoyed it. But, nobody else could get their head around it. Every person I mentioned it to said, “Yeah? Breakfast Stuffing, huh?” in that oh-that-scribble-was-a-dinosaur? voice. I know the oh-that-scribble-was-a-dinosaur voice. So, I pulled it, and it has lived on my computer since, hoping to one day find a home.

It’s been four years. Maybe it’s time?

So, here is my favorite stuffing for all days of the year, but especially next Thursday. It includes all of the apples and celery and onion I was denied as a child, sometimes cornbread too, and sometimes, I even put some breakfast sausage in it, but it’s not a requirement. It’s very easy to make — just torn bread, gently toasted, some chopped stuff lightly sauteed in butter, then baked in a pan and stuffed, uh, places* [clutches pearls]. It reheats well. It’s a flexible recipe, in case you detest one ingredient but can’t live without, say, chestnuts. And if you’ve ever wanted to eat stuffing for breakfast on day that are not the day after Thanksgiving, well, you’re among friends.

Thanksgiving recipes: My favorites are listed here, but if you think I’ve missed something, head to the search box (top left, under the logo) and type in the ingredient — I bet we have something. Unless you’re looking for a whole turkey recipe… um, next year, I promise. [Thanksgiving Recipes]

More Thanksgiving this week: I realized near the end of last week that I had five Thanksgiving dishes left to share with you, and wouldn’t it be fun to post each day this week about one? So, Monday was Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions. Today is stuffing. And if all goes well (so many tiny inconvenient things — meetings and tests and tours and a pesky case of laryngitis — are plotting against us this week), but I’m going to persevere. I love these dishes too much to keep them from you any longer.

Apple and Herb Stuffing* for All Seasons

6 cups torn chunks French, sourdough or country loaf, torn into bits (I use 2 7-ounce demi-baguettes)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large Spanish or sweet onion, chopped small
1 large or 2 small stalks celery, diced small
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon table salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large or 2 small firm, tart tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced small
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 sage leaves, minced
1/2 to 1 cup cup turkey, chicken or vegetable stock or broth
1 large egg

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread bread cubes in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pale golden, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool in pan while you prepare the other ingredients.

Generously butter a 2-quart baking dish (a 9࡫-inch loaf, 8- or 9-inch square dish, etc.) with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper and cook for 2 minutes, until becoming translucent. Add celery and cook for 2 more minutes. Add apple and saute until a bit tender, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Place bread in large mixing bowl. Scrape contents of skillet on top. Whisk egg and 1/2 cup broth or stock together and pour over. Stir in parsley and sage. Spoon into prepared pan. If mixture looks a little dry, pour remaining 1/2 cup broth over it. [This is a good place to pause, if needed. Nothing bad comes of the stuffing absorbing the liquids for longer.] Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until brown on top and no liquid appears if you insert a knife vertically into the center of the stuffing pan and turn it slightly. Serve immediately, or reheat as needed.

* On a technical note, I insist upon calling stuffing what is actually dressing, even though I know it is wrong. Although they use the same recipes, stuffing goes inside the bird, dressing is baked outside, and I insist that it is better outside the bird. When making stuffing to, uh, stuff, uh, places, one must cook the bird to a higher-than-normal temperature to ensure that the stuffing inside is free from undercooked poultry drippings. Seeing as most turkey is dry enough, I see no point in helping it along.

Salad recipes

There's nothing like a fresh salad to start a meal or for a lighter bite. This collection of salad recipes from Great British Chefs should provide a variety of ideas for a pretty plate, from light, healthy salad recipes to more substantial dishes perfect for dinner.

A beautifully presented salad as a starter or main meal can be a great way to impress your guests without requiring too much time in the kitchen, and this collection features an array of salads to suit every taste. From Tom Aiken's take on a classic Caesar salad, to Marcello Tully's summery Hot salmon salad, and Nigel Mendham's indulgent Chicken salad recipe, served with creamy avocado and Gorgonzola, there are plenty of ideas for light lunches, starters and sides.

Simon Hulstone’s glorious Golden beetroot salad recipe makes a wonderful vegetarian starter, or for a fresh tasting, simple dish try Alfred Prasad’s healthy Prawn salad recipe. Greg Malouf’s exquisitely presented Salad Shirazi is garnished with edible flowers, while Robert Thompson’s Mozzarella salad combines the flavours of mint, lemon, pea and broad beans in the perfect summer plate.

The bacon wrap is a genius way to secure flavorful fresh herbs inside the fish.

Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes.

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Classic Pasta e Fagioli

The inspiration for this came from the book on Tuscan coastal cooking, Acquacotta, by Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant, 2017). The original recipe calls for clams and no fish, but I had fresh prawns and halibut on hand. I was also cooking beans and well, you know, beans. Any of our white beans will work, except maybe Marcellas. They would be fine but I suspect they'd be too delicate and their charm would be lost, or worse, they'd just fall apart. The stew can be made ahead a day or two up to the point of adding the fish and prawns.

Herb-Roasted Apples, Onions and Carrots

Are you getting a little tired of the standard steamed broccoli, asparagus or green beans night after night? My Herb-Roasted Apples, Onions and Carrots are the perfect side dish to complement anything from roast chicken to pork chops. The apples are a bit unexpected but the sweetness pairs perfectly with the caramelized onion wedges.

As Fall approaches, you should be able to find apples, carrots, and onions from local farmers although I’ll be the first to admit – this dish is a great way to use up the rest of that bag of apples or carrots that has been sitting in your fridge for a while. The type of onion or apple you choose to use does not matter – let the growing season guide your decision.

Aside from garlic, the key to this dish is Herbes de Provence . This readily available spice blend typically contains a mix of oregano, marjoram, thyme, lavender, rosemary, and sage. If you don’t have it – feel free to create your own blend by mixing equal parts of any or all of these spices. Save the rest of the blend to use in a variety of other dishes. One of my favorite and most simple beef rubs is olive oil, Herbes de Provence, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Let me know what you think of this recipe. My husband loved it and that is usually a good sign.

Cauliflower & Roasted Garbanzo Rice and Peas Salad with Apple & Avocado

Cauliflower and roasted garbanzo rice and peas salad is super fresh, nourishing, clean-tasting, and super versatile as the base of a meal.

We’re trying for a winter-to-spring feel with this cauliflower and roasted garbanzo rice and peas salad today.

There’s only one green and edible thing out back right now and even though some heavy rain made for a solid foot of water between me and some chives, I had to have those little emerald green blades. They were certain proof that the world was at work once again, all despite the lump of icy grey grit-filled snow in the shadiest part of the yard, just uglying it all up.

So I’ve been going out to the spot under the old apple tree to get my spring-y fill of that onion-y flavour. It’s been cool and wet, the kind of cold that is so penetrating. Sometimes I forget to put a jacket on, but it’s always worth it.

I mostly feel like I’m just thinking about things more, and a noticeably more active mind seems to equal a solid stream of creative ideas. Somewhat predictably, those ideas dabble in food a lot and that’s how I ended up with this non-rice and non-peas cauliflower and roasted garbanzo rice + peas.

If you have a partial understanding of what a food blog is, you’ve probably heard of a) processing cauliflower so that it can eat like rice/couscous and b) roasting chickpeas for a crunchy snack. I originally thought of pairing this cauliflower rice with fresh peas, but they’re just so far off and that’s just as well. If you’re looking for more cauliflower inspiration, I have it in a salad with nectarines and dukkah here, as an entire veggie “roast” with romesco here, and as a crunchy BBQ topper to a slaw here.

The warm and golden garbanzos add to the transitional feel of this dish. I use herbs in their whole leaf form with a heavy hand for brightness. Thin radishes, apples and avocado bring it all together. The dressing couldn’t be simpler either. I wrapped big scoops of it into little radicchio lettuce cups and it was a nice lunch!

Watch the video: Μήλα τηγανητά Νηστίσιμα (May 2022).


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