I bookmarked the recipe at least a couple of lifetimes ago ..
That's just how long it's sounded really, really good. (But then again, I'm a sucker for a pot of beans, throw in some cheese, add a tomato base; oh my)
So the other night, when I decided a food blog must go forth, this was one of the first recipes that came to mind
What was I waiting for?
Imagine plump, creamy beans baked in a bright chunky tomato sauce, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs, plenty of tangy crumbled feta, and an emerald drizzle of oregano-parsley pesto.
It's incredible made with meaty Rancho Gordo Giant Limas from Peru, silly Gigantes, or other large limas from your local grocery.
While we love the original in its purest form, it's one of those recipes that beg for a few twists of our own: a slightly different tomato sauce, parsley or cilantro pesto, greens like kale or spinach, whole grain bread crumbs, melty cheese like goat, farmers, or queso fresco.
We adjusted the spices, as husbands and wives do. Finding the right combo in the spectrum of “I can't do spicy” to “let's add a few jalapenos.”
One of the great things about this recipe is: you're able to do many of the components ahead of time. Things like boiling the dried beans, making the pesto and tomato sauce, and toasting the breadcrumbs.
It's easy to assemble the components in a flash, and into the oven, it goes. Perfect for evenings when friends are invited over, or busy days; times when something quick and easy is the only thing that will do.
I'm sure someone will wonder, what about substituting canned beans? I've often found they lack the structure that beans cooked from scratch will have. The canned beans tend to break and go to mush much more quickly.
Do you have a recipe that you keep bookmarking over and over again?
( ** Note from Ali: This is the very first post on The Veggies. In light of the blog's five year anniversary, I thought a few updated photos were in order)
~ Adapted from Food & Wine
Giant White Bean Stew with Oregano Pesto
- 3 cups dried giant lima beans or Gigantes rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 4 hours and drained
- Kosher salt
- 5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- One 16 oz can whole tomatoes, juices reserved, tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp oregano, chopped fine
- 1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese, for sprinkling
- 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (gluten-free if you’re avoiding gluten)
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp chopped oregano
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- Kosher salt
- In a large saucepan, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are just tender but still al dente (~ 2 ½ - 3 hours). Add water as needed to keep the beans covered by roughly the same amount
- Season with a strong pinch of salt and let stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Reserve 1 ½ cups of their cooking liquid before draining the rest
- In your food processor or blender, add the olive oil with the oregano, parsley, garlic and a pinch of salt; pulse to a coarse puree.
- In a large saucepan, over medium-high, warm 3 Tbsp of the olive oil.
- Add the onion and garlic; cook until softened (~ 8-10 minutes)
- Add the tomatoes, oregano and the reserved cooking liquid from the beans. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to 1 ½ cups (~ 1 hour)
- Season the tomato sauce with salt, to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, mix the beans with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with feta.
- Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 40 minutes, until the beans are bubbling and the cheese has browned. Remove the from the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
- Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, (~ 3 minutes)
- Top the beans with toasted bread crumbs, a spoonful of oregano pesto, and serve.