Broccoli rabe and heirloom beans with sourdough-garlic croutons and cheese
Tonight’s dinner took a total of four hours to make, prep time included. The majority of that time was because I cooked the beans from scratch. If you’d rather not bother with dried beans, canned will do in a pinch. Unfortunately you lose out on quality control in exchange for convenience.
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (1)
1 cup bean cooking liquid
extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, skinned and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
handful of fresh oregano, chopped
1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed and chopped
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 slices sourdough bread, cut into cubes
3 T. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 T. chopped parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the croutons: Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add bread cubes and parsley. Stir. Toss cubes until golden brown, taking care not to burn the garlic, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Warm olive oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaf and oregano. Lower heat and cook, gently stirring until vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add broccoli rabe along with the bean cooking liquid. When greens have wilted, add the cooked beans and simmer, adding more cooking liquid as necessary. Cook until the greens are done, roughly 15 minutes. Check seasoning. Stir in parsley. Divide portions amongst soup bowls. Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil on top, sprinkle with croutons and grated cheese and serve immediately.
(1) — I used cellini beans and borlotti beans from Rancho Gordo but any dried beans will do. Place 1 cup beans in a heavy bottomed oven-proof pot or Dutch oven along with 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then place in a pre-heated 350 F oven and cook for 90 minutes. If you add aromatics to the water like I did, be prepared to extend the cooking time to almost 3 hours. Beans should be tender or close to it. If you think they need more time, add a pinch of salt and extend oven-cooking time by another 30 minutes. You can cook the beans a couple of days ahead of time if you like. That way the prep time won’t seem so onerous.