FB Plugin

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

French Beans

Freezer kit
 Sort of a French-style baked bean that can play as either a vegetarian main course (with vegetable stock) or a side dish.  Nearly fat-free and very low sodium if you use home-cooked beans and homemade stock.  And of course, it can be prepped ahead for same-day or next-day cooking, or made into a freezer kit.  You can choose how much of the cooking will be done on the front end and how much on the back end, depending on your personal schedule.

There are three main parts to this dish, each with some options about how much home cooking to do and when to do it.

  1. Beans:  If you cook beans from dry, go ahead and cook a whole pound (or two) and freeze them in 1-1/2 cup portions.  You'll need 3 cups of cooked beans for this recipe.  Undercook the beans slightly as they'll get a bit mushy in the freezer.  If you really think you'll have more time to cook beans on Dinner Day, you can also freeze beans after they've been soaked (overnight at room temp, or boil for 1 minute and leave in the covered pot for 1 hour), before they've been cooked.  You'll just need to leave yourself an hour and a half to cook them later.  Or you can use 2 cans of beans.  For a meal kit, label the cans and store them in the pantry.
  2. Wine-stock reduction: You'll need 3 cups total of liquid.  At least 1 cup needs to be dry red wine, and 1 cup needs to be vegetable or chicken stock, and the third cup can be whatever ratio of the two you prefer.  If you use store-bought stock from a box, can, cube or granules, only use half the amount called for and make up the difference with water (e.g. for 2 cups stock, use 1 cup boxed/reconstituted stock plus 1 cup water).  Because you're going to reduce the stock and wine, the extra sodium in the store-bought will concentrate to salt-lick levels.  Again, depending on when you think you'll have time, you can go ahead and make the reduction and fridge/freeze it, or fridge/freeze the components of the sauce to reduce on Dinner Day.  Leave yourself 30 minutes for the reduction.
  3. Vegetables: This pretty much needs to be cooked last minute, but the chopping and measuring can be done in advance.  Freeze/fridge the vegetables in one container or bag, and the seasoned beurre manié in another (snack-sized ziptop bags are great for this).

French Beans
Makes 4 servings as a main dish, 8 servings as a side dish

3 cups cooked beans, kidney, cannellini or northern

1-2 cups dry red wine (to make 3 cups total with stock)
1-2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (to make 3 cups total with wine)
1 bay leaf (and a sprig of any fresh herbs you have on hand)

4 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 tbsp butter or olive oil

1 portion beurre manié OR 1 tbsp flour + 1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp dry thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Measuring the sauce for reduction

Combine stock, wine and bay leaf (and other fresh herbs) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-high and reduce to 1 cup, about 30 minutes.  Put the handle of a wooden spoon in the liquid before boiling, and boil until the liquid level is down to 1/3 of the mark on the spoon.  Strain and, if storing the reduction, put in a container for fridging or freezing.

Assembled kit for later-today cooking
For a meal kit, combine shallots, garlic and celery in a container for fridging or freezing.  Combine beurre manié and thyme in a small bag.  Put beans (if not canned) in a bag, and put the beans, reduction, vegetables and beurre manié in a large bag with instructions for the remainder of the recipe.

Beans a-cooking

When ready to cook, thaw ingredients.  Heat 1 tbsp butter or oil over medium and add veg.  Saute 5-7 minutes, until softened.  Stir in beans.  Make a hole in the beans and add beurre manié.  Stir until melted and vegetables are coated.  Slowly stir in wine-stock reduction.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and simmer about 20 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment