A Meal with Ingredients that Keep

Essentially. Also, both kids loved it. So there’s that endorsement.

I’ve been baking my own bread because we, the Sakasens, can’t live without bread, and I found this easy and delicious French bread recipe from King Arthur. It’s a recipe that requires a sponge (it’s just some of the water, flour, and yeast, mixed and let to sit so flavor develops), which they say needs a minimum of 2 hours, but I’d give it at least 4 (we did 2 the first time and it was really pretty boring). I’d also add at least 2tsp of salt (it says 1.5 to 2.25tsp, to taste). Regardless, I split it into two long, “oval” loaves (so I can freeze one if I need to), rather than 1 large round, and it’s fine, so don’t panic about deflating it too much. Anyway, it takes maybe a total of 8 hours, including time to cool, but you could also make the the night before, in which case, you finish the next day in about 4 hours.

Why am I talking about bread? Because this recipe needs bread and that’s the only thing that wouldn’t necessarily keep into weeks 2, 3, or 4 of not going out/to the grocery store.

It’s a recipe we got from Cool Beans but had to modify because we are, in reality, into week 2 of no grocery shopping and it called for broccoli rabe, which we don’t have. But we do have edamame in the freezer. We also don’t have great Northern beans because, I don’t know why, but we do have pinto. You just want something that can get that creamy interior and in choosing between the beans we have (black, pinto, and kidney), that was the best one. Anyway, here it is; if you look at the cover of Cool Beans, it’s that dish. And it’s SO GOOD.

Garlicky Great Northern Beans and Broccoli Rabe over Toast

Joe Yonan, Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes (California: Ten Speed Press, 2020), 110.

6 servings

  • 2c Dried great Northern beans (may substitute navy, cannellini, or other white bean), soaked overnight and drained*
  • Water
  • 1 Onion, studded with 12 whole cloves [I cut off the skin, but left it intact]
  • 2 large Carrots [I scrubbed these, but also left them intact -to include the leaves]
  • 1 (3″x5″) strip Kombu (dried seaweed)**
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large bunch Broccoli Rabe, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped [crushed garlic provides more flavor]
  • 1tsp Kosher Salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 6 thick slices Rustic Sourdough Bread, lightly toasted***
  • 1T chile oil (optional)****
  • 1/4c Parmesan, grated or shaved*****
  1. Combine the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring the beans to a boil. Let them boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat so the beans are at a bare simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can cook the above in a stovetop or electric pressure cooker: Bring to high pressure and cook for 17 minutes if using a stovetop model or 20 minutes for electric. Let the pressure release naturally, then open.)
  2. Discard the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves and strain the beans, reserving all of the cooking liquid.
  3. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Stir in the broccoli rabe and saute until very tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the drained beans, 1.5 c of the reserved cooking liquid, and the salt. Cook just until the beans are hot and the flavors have melded, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, taste, and add more salt if needed.
  4. Divide the toast among shallow serving bowls. Drizzle with the chile oil, if desired, and spoon the bean mixture and broth on top. Finish with the Parm and serve hot.

* You can probably use canned, you just won’t have quite the flavor profile. But look for BPA-free, of course, and low sodium.

** As far as I understand, this is more to helps provide the enzymes needed to digest beans without, ahem, their musical qualities. Or at least to reduce them. They also provide salt and some flavor. BUT if you don’t have kombu, and, let’s face it, you probably don’t in these times, you can do without. I haven’t tried it, but maybe at a tablespoon of salt to the cooking water. As far as the gas, do what you need to do in that regard (soaking helps so maybe try to plan ahead).

*** Here’s where the bread comes in. I don’t like sourdough (a gasp from the crowd), thus the French bread recipe. But if you do, great!

**** I garnished James’ and mine with red pepper flakes

*****We started eating this without the Parmesan and it was really good, but once we remembered and added the shaved Parm it was SO GOOD. It just added that depth of flavor and punch of good salty rather than salty salty.

Again, we used pinto instead of great Northern and edamame instead of broccoli rabe. After tasting it, I think this recipe is very flexible. I still don’t know that I would use peas because they’re so sweet and their texture might be too soft, but then again, I’m thinking frozen broccoli would work, so maybe that’s not really an issue. (Addendum: Since this first time, we have used green beans; frozen broccoli -I roasted it first; and broccoli rabe and it is still SO GOOD).

On another note, we saved the rest of the bean cooking liquid and the carrots and used those in the chicken noodle soup James made that night and it was good! So, in the spirit of little to no waste in these end times, save the cooking liquid and cooking veggies for other dishes. (Addendum: Just save the cooking liquid. I’ve used it to make rice for a variety of ethnic dishes, you could use it with pasta or some sort of Asian noodle [e.g., lo mein], whether as a sauce or took cook the noodles themselves.)

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