I was a little nervous to make this dish. Cooking with dried beans is kind of intimidating for me. I’m not sure why except that I guess it’s because I don’t do it all that often so I’m not sure how long to let them soak or how much liquid to cook them in. But that’s what google is for right? Turns out, it’s really not that difficult to cook with dried beans! There are also a variety of ways to cook them and although the process does take some time, this recipe is simple and the results are delicious. One of the most important steps in cooking with dried beans is to soak them overnight. It cuts down on the cooking time and helps to soften the beans.
This dish combines dried white cannellini beans, veggies like onions, carrots, and celery, chicken broth, fresh thyme and grated parmesan cheese. It’s topped with crumbled bacon and fresh parsley. It’s warm, creamy and comforting and a perfect dinner for a cold, rainy day. I actually make a similar recipe that I found in a cooking light magazine years ago with brown lentils but I think I like this version even better. Serve it with a piece of warm, crusty bread and it’s the perfect comforting meal for any night of the week.
1 lb dried white cannellini beans
6 slices of bacon cut into bite sized pieces
1 large white onion diced
4 medium carrots diced
4 stalks of celery diced
6 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups chicken stock (reduced fat and low sodium)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese or pecorino romano cheese grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. Put the beans into a bowl and cover them with 2 inches of cold water. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge and let it sit overnight.
2. After soaking the beans overnight, place the beans in a large pot and cover the beans with a lot of water. You want twice as much water as you have beans (this is about 14 cups).
3. Bring the beans and water to a boil, reduce the heat, and let the beans simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat a dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Cook until crisp.
5. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Set to the side.
6. Add the diced onion, carrots and celery to the pan with the bacon drippings and sautee for 10-12 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.
7. After the beans have simmered for 45 minutes, drain them and add them to the pot with the veggies.
8. Add in the 2 cups of chicken stock, thyme and salt and pepper and let the whole thing simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
9. Add in the parmesan cheese (or pecorino romano) and stir to combine. Taste for seasonings.
10. Turn off the heat and add the crumbled bacon and fresh parsley to the top.
11. Serve in bowls with some additional parmesan cheese and some crusty bread!