Tag Archives: cannellini beans

Alubias con Chorizo (Cannellini with Hot Spanish Sausage)

19 Feb

When I first moved to Puerto Rico as a grown-up and got a job in San Juan, I lived several weeks with my godparents (from Confirmation, if you’re Catholic) in Ocean Park, in their art-filled, book-lined, sun-drenched house on the beach. When I found an apartment, I didn’t go far; for the next six years — más o menos — I lived around the corner, five houses away, and I spent almost as many dinnertimes there as in my own little house.

Carmen and I assembled lots of meals together, inventing pasta dishes, reviving old family recipes, experimenting with local ingredients from the farmer’s market, trying out exotic ingredients from whatever new specialty shop opened nearby and talking, talking, talking, to a soundtrack of the classical music station (Schumann, Schubert, Bach, come to mind) or old boleros from a more refined past (Trío Los Panchos, Rafael Hernández).

Those are some of my favorite memories from that time. So it’s always a pleasure to visit Carmen and Efrén when we are back in Puerto Rico — now I bring my son! — and, of course, get back into the kitchen. Over the holidays, Leandro, my parents and I stayed a few delicious days with them in Ocean Park (my parents and they have been friends for about 50 years now!), including visits from Carmen’s best friend, the noted playwright and director, Myrna Casas, and Baby Llenza, another notable chef!

Carmen made this as part of one lovely dinner and I couldn’t wait to try it myself. She recently sent me the recipe via email. It really is better with giant Spanish-style alubias in a jar, but cannellini from a can are a very tasty substitute if that’s what you have on hand. Just cook gently so they don’t fall apart!

Carmen’s Alubias con Chorizo

2-3 Tbs olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped fine

3 (or more!) cloves garlic, minced

15 oz can crushed tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid) or 1 ripe tomato, chopped or 2 Tbs tomato paste (you can add a handful of chopped grape tomatoes, if you’ve got, to freshen the flavor)

4 oz spicy Spanish chorizo (the hard, continental kind, similar to Italian hot dry sausage), peeled and chopped

19 oz jar of alubias from Viter – do NOT drain (or, 28 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed)

Heat the oil in a pot until fragrant. Add onions and garlic, reduce to medium and soften. Add tomato and cook down a few minutes. Add chorizo and sauté briefly, just until it is releasing its oil. Add beans and cook until flavors incorporate (canned cannellini will soften very quickly, so do not overcook!). Use reserved tomato water, or just water, for a more liquid pot of beans.

According to Carmen, the Spanish eat this with sautéed Swiss Chard. In Puerto Rico, we accompany it with rice.

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Quick Cannellini Bean Salad (great with tomatoes or on toast!)

9 Sep

Cannellini beans have come to the rescue a couple of times this week – once when I needed something to take across the street to dinner that would show off one of the tomatoes we grew in our backyard and then when we had a mom and kid playdate and I wanted a quick addition to a snack-y type table, along with hummus, veggies, crackers, grapes, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese.

These little white beans are tasty right out of the can, so you are only seconds from a hearty snack when you have it in your pantry. I think I’ll be using this recipe a lot this winter to add dash and protein satisfaction to otherwise ordinary salads.

A delicious salad that makes a meal. Look at those glorious tomatoes.

Quick Cannellini Bean Salad (great with tomatoes!)

1 15oz can cannellini (white) beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 onion, peeled and minced (red onion preferred, but use what you’ve got)

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

¼ -1/2 tsp red or white wine vinegar

¼ – ½ tsp balsamic vinegar

½ tsp oregano/Italian herbs/your favorite dried herb. Double the quantity for fresh chopped herbs.

Pinch salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

(optional, small chunks of tomato, seeded)

Place beans and minced onion in a bowl. In a separate bowl or cup, whisk together oil and vinegars (you can adjust vinegars to your personal taste). Pour over beans, add remaining ingredients. mix thoroughly and serve.

 

No-cook Cannellini and Garlic Scape Dip (fast and seasonal)

26 Jun

Garlic scapes are the gorgeous twisty tops of garlic plants as they begin to mature in late spring. They need to be removed from the plant so they don’t take growing power away from the bulbs still developing underground.

They are so good to look at that I actually stick them in vases and use as centerpieces when they are in season, but of course I pull them right out of their decorative function whenever I need garlic flavor, which is what garlic scapes give you. You top and tail them to remove the crown and any woodiness at the bottom of the stem, slice and voila! fresh tasting garlic. When I have had overabundance, I have diced and frozen them to good effect.

This is a recipe that Caroline Fanning, head grower at Restoration Farm, suggested I play around with, as the farm had just such an abundance this year. I added the oil and thyme; You can really experiment with whichever herbs you like. Basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, savory, and sage all complement the nuttiness of cannellini beans.

You can use this as dip or spread on sandwiches or wraps, to add flavor and creaminess to other ingredients. Great party dip! I served them as an appetizer, using teacups for individual servings of dip with cut vegetable dippers stuck right in!

No-cook Cannellini and Garlic Scape Dip

4-5 garlic scapes, crown removed and stem trimmed of any woodiness at the bottom

2 15.5 oz cans cannellini (white) beans, rinsed and drained

1 generous Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp dried thyme (4 tsp fresh)

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with baguette toasts, crackers or fresh vegetable sticks.

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