A bean stew with beet salad for a cold night

February 23, 2012

Things have been quiet around here recently. The last couple of months have been quite an unexpected roller coaster here in the Wrightfood household, and frankly I haven’t had much interest in blogging to be honest. Thankfully, things are starting to look exceedingly good for us, which has also meant that thankfully my passion for food has returned a bit.

On the cards these days is simple, fast, tasty food. The kind of food that you can whack a lot of flavor into in the space of 15 minutes, but yet it still has a subtle clean elegance to it, even if it is a rustic pot-o-beans.

This bean stew is the kind of thing you eat on a cold night curled up in front of Fashion Police (hands down the best show on TV at the moment). Don’t pretend you are too intelectual for that show. You aren’t. No one is. Funny is funny, especially when potty mouth Joan Rivers is involved.

The whole dish takes about 15 minutes if you have some beans cooked already, or you crack open a can of em. If you were really darn good you might be able to get this thing made in a commercial break.

It was a couple of weeks ago now that I was really hankering after a bowl of clams, steamed in white wine with leeks. Leeks are one of my go to vegetables for all things from the sea, especially those things coming in small shells. The problem I had however wasn’t the lack of leeks or wine (oh please, seriously?) but rather the lack of shellfish. Any fish of that matter. I turned my attention to the pantry (or drawer really..) and found a can of cannellini beans. “Well” I thought “this is worth a go”. Turns out thankfully I didn’t waste a leek, or a can of beans, or heaven forbid some wine. What you get is that lovely rich boozy allium flavor I love, but without any shells to deal with. One cannot argue with that.

Honestly, when you think about it, pretty much anything cooked in butter with leeks and wine is not going to suck. The trick here is really just to have everything done fast enough so you don’t miss out on “bitch stole my look” (go look it up).

The raw beet salad was honestly an afterthought, and one originally just designed to add some color to a rather anemic looking dish. Turns out the tartness of the salad goes great with the rich flavor of the bean stew.

This has fast become my go-to dinner when I want something quick and hearty. Paired with a green salad you honestly cannot go wrong for an evening on the couch.

Bean Stew with Raw Beet Salad Recipe

NOTE: Home cooked beans do work best in this recipe, however honestly I rarely make them these days – I seem to always think of beans at the last minute, and have no time to cook em

1 can of white beans – Cannellini is what I use, drained

1 leek

1 clove of garlic

1 good sized glass of dry white wine

butter – at least 3 tablespoons

salt and pepper

1 smallish beet

small handfull of parsley and chives

juice of half a lemon

olive oil – about 2 tablespoons

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To make the beet salad: julienne the beet finely. I personally use a mandolin with a julienne blade for this. Finely chop the parsley and chives. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together. Mix in the beets and herbs. Finally season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the mean stew: Cut off the roots of the leek, and peel off (and discard) the outer layer of the leak. Cut the leak half way through lengthwise, and wash out any grit inside. Slice the leek finely across. Don’t use the darkest green section. Saute this leek in a couple of tablespoons of butter until soft – about 5 minutes or so. Crush the garlic clove and add to the leek – cook for another minute. Add the beans to the leek pan and turn up the heat. Pour in the white wine, and let reduce bubbling away for a couple of minutes. If the mixture looks a bit dry, add more butter.

When the beans are heated through and everything seems nicely combined, season generously with salt and pepper. Spoon the beans in to a bowl and top with a nice mound of the beet salad. Get stuck in right away with a glass of whatever you poured into the beans, a side salad, and a snarky TV fashion show.

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  • la domestique February 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Glad you’re back! The bean stew looks tasty, and I do love Joan Rivers.

  • Brooke February 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I hope this good news means what I think it means… Also, I don’t really know how we managed to make it out of there without eating this!

  • Michelle February 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Passion can be a fickle friend. But she always returns when we have the space and energy to receive.
    I’m glad you’re back. Beans are simplicity at it’s most delicious, no? (The added booze doesn’t hurt.)

  • jennifer March 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I came across your blog . . . beautiful food and great photog tips!

  • PMW April 12, 2012 at 5:55 am

    I can’t have white wine (or any of its common substitutes) but I wonder if you’d recommend chicken stock with a bit of gin. Any thoughts?