Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday: Smothered Beans

I got this recipe from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley.

Listen to his description: "I like to imagine that up in heaven the saints all order this dish at a club where Louis Armstrong is leading the band. It is that delicious." How could I resist?!

Again, I won't post the recipe, but it involves dried Great Northern beans, pinto beans, leeks and collards. And braising. Ever braised before? I hadn't. I found out in an article in today's paper that that is one of the top 10 cooking trends for 2009! I feel so current!

I also used this recipe to get a new pot. It calls for a heavy flameproof casserole. The only casserole dishes I have are Pyrex, which I don't think you can use stovetop. I found this calphalon pan - I just so happen to be trying to convert all my pots and pans to calphalon, one piece at a time. It's just like my 12" pan, except for the handle deal. I would never be able to fit my 12" pan in the oven with it's long handle.

Anyway, back to the recipe. I do not have a good track record with cooking dried beans. I always use the overnight soak method, and the beans yesterday got soaked at least 12 hours. This time it was hit or miss. There were some crunchy beans and some cooked beans.

The collards and leeks take up a lot of fridge space.

The verdict: 3 thumbs down and 1 thumbs up. I LOVED it! And goody, I get all the leftovers for my lunches this week. My kids gave it a thumbs down because they are kids, and it was vegetables, blech, blech. Gary gave it a thumbs down because he could taste the collards. He did say it had good flavors. Maybe I could find another leafy green to use.

I think I will cook this recipe for my parents sometime.

As far as ease, it was not a hard recipe, but it's a recipe that requires planning ahead. You have to soak the beans. Leeks and collards are not vegetables I have on hand. You have to do a little boiling, then saute'ing, assembly and then the braising (which takes up the oven for a while).

Obviously the nutrition is good with all the vegetables. And it was tastey and filling, so it was satisfying for a main dish. The recipe called for 3 tablespoons of olive oil, which seems like a lot, but this is going to spread out into a lot of servings for me - so I should be okay.


But I want to mention an uber-easy tastey recipe that a friend told me about that I made Monday. Super, super easy. Chicken stuffed manicotti. I think it's a betty crocker recipe. Take the dry manicotti shell, stuff in a raw chicken tenderloin (or cut up chicken breast into strips) that has been sprinkled with garlic salt. Mix 3/4 c water with a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce. Spread a little sauce in the bottom of your casserole dish, lay out the stuffed shells, spread on the rest of the sauce covering all the shells and bake, covered at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. Uncover and top with cheese and bake for a few more minutes until melted.

As you can tell, you can make as much or as little as you want at a time.
**edited to add a picture of the smothered beans (today's lunch)

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