Recipe For Health
by Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski
Featured Food: Giant White Beans Yield: Yields about 2 CupsLearn more about Giant White Beans

Ingredients

  • 2-16oz. cans butter beans, gently rinsed and drained
  • ¼ c. julienne red onions
  • ¾ c. large diced tomatoes
  • 2 c. rough chopped kale
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 T. chopped fresh dill
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Steam chopped kale for about 5 minutes then shock, drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and fresh dill to make vinaigrette. Set aside.

Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat; when hot, add 1 T. olive oil and red onion and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add kale and butter beans and continue to sauté for additional 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add in reserved vinaigrette. Gently toss to coat. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

Shock: Also called “refresh;” to quickly chill steamed or blanched food by plunging it in ice water to stop the cooking process and to set the color, flavor and nutrient content of the food

Learn More About Giant White Beans

Eating beans on New Year’s Day is a time-honored way in many cultures to bring prosperity to your family. You may be familiar with hoppin’ john, a dish made with black-eyed peas, traditional New Year’s fare in the southern U.S. But did you know that lentils bring in the New Year in Germany, Italy and Brazil and black beans in Japan?

If bigger is better where omens are concerned, we should have it covered with giant white beans. Commonly called butter beans in the U.S. and gigandes in Greece, giant white beans are flat, kidney-shaped beans measuring about an inch in length. When fresh or frozen, they are pale green and referred to as lima beans. They turn pure white when dried. Chef’s recipe calls for canned beans, usually labeled butter beans, but you can substitute cooked dried beans if you prefer. Although not widely available, I found dried giant white beans for $1.95 per pound at a local supermarket. Look for whole beans, not broken or cracked, with smooth white skin.

Giant white beans cook more quickly than you might expect. Soaked beans will simmer to a soft buttery texture in just 45 minutes to an hour. Think of them as gentle giants. Turbulent water, extended cooking time, or any kind of rough treatment will cause them to break apart.  

To cook up a batch of giant white beans, start by soaking 1 pound of dried beans in 10 cups of water in a large pot, covered and placed in the refrigerator overnight. After the long soak, drain into a colander. Place beans back in the pot along with 6 cups water and aromatics (onion, garlic, bay leaf, fresh thyme and parsley). Simmer gently for ½ hour, then add a teaspoon of salt and continue with a gentle simmer for 15 minutes more. Let the beans cool in the broth. Strain to use in the recipe. Store cooked beans in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.

Combine giant white beans with greens as in this month’s recipe for an extra dose of prosperity.  Peggy Crum MA, RD

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