Vegetables and Sides

Cooked White Beans

Recipe credit: Perfect Pairings (University of California Press, 2006), by Evan Goldstein; recipes by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs Copyright 2006 by Joyce Oudkerk PoolReprinted with permission from the publisher and photographer.

Ingredients
  • 1⁄2 pound (1 cup) dried cannellini, great northern, or other white beans
  • 2 to 3 quarts water
  • 3 whole sage leaves or 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄2 onion (optional)
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • Additional olive oil

Directions

  1. Overnight method: In a large pot, soak the beans in 1 quart water overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Quick-soak method: If you need beans in a hurry, and you don’t want to use canned, use this method. In a large pot, combine the beans with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover the pot, and let the beans stand for 1 hour.
  3. After completing either method of soaking, drain the beans, transfer them to a saucepan, and cover with 1 quart cold water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add the whole sage leaves, and the onion and whole garlic cloves, if desired, and reduce the heat to low. Skim off the foam, cover the pot, and simmer gently until the beans are tender, 40 to 60 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt after 15 minutes of cooking.
  4. When the beans are tender, discard the garlic, onion, and sage leaves. Drain the excess liquid from the beans, keeping them in about 1 cup of bean cooking liquid. Transfer the beans to a bowl. While the beans are still warm, add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate.)
  5. In a small sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over low heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked beans with their liquid and the chopped sage leaves. Simmer 15 minutes. Taste and reseason. Drizzle with extra oil and serve.
Time Level Yield
2+ hours Easy 4 servings

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