don’t you love when you start a recipe not knowing how it’s going to turn out, and then it works out so much better than you could have imagined? that’s this recipe.
now that the damp, feel-it-in-your-bones type of cold is setting in, i’m craving hearty, filling foods that warm me from the inside out. i used to marinate beans in the summer in olive oil, lemon and fresh herbs, but now that it’s too cold to eat salads (that’s my excuse and i’m sticking to it), i wanted a way to eat beans as protein that felt as comforting as soup but more substantial. so, armed with my trusty staub cocotte, some stray celery and carrot sticks, and a ton of garlic, i set out to turn the dried beans i had sitting in my cupboard into something healthy and filling for dinner, and ended up making a humble but holy-shit-that’s-good dish.
it’s recipes like this that i try and use to convince everyone they need to be cooking at home. delicious food doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive – this cost under $5 to make a huge pot, it’s healthy, simple and it’s one of my favourite things i’ve cooked in a while. i literally threw a bunch of ingredients in a pot, went to the gym, and when i came back i was pleasantly surprised at what this handful of year old beans found at the back of my cupboard had turned into.
the only way i can describe these is do you remember the heinz canned beans in tomato sauce? when i was a kid love those with lots of brown sugar and sometimes a chopped up hot dog thrown in. these beans taste like the grown up version of that – tomatoey, a bit sweet & salty, but with a more luxurious feel (and obviously way healthier). the recipe as i made it this time is completely vegetarian, but next time i’ll definitely be adding some chopped pancetta to add another level of flavour and as a nod to the hot dog i used to throw in my beans as a kid.
make a double batch and eat it over toast, with eggs, underneath of a pile of roasted veggies, as a side for meats, or straight out of the pot with a spoon in one hand and piece of good bread in the other!
braised navy beans
1 1/2 cups dried navy beans
1 medium onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot stalk, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced (you want a solid 2 tablespoons. all of the garlic!)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons presidents choice spiced tomato and anchovy paste (or 1 minced anchovy)
4 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
big pinch chilli flakes
salt and pepper
add the olive oil, onion and garlic to your dutch oven over medium low heat. cook for a few minutes, then add celery, carrot, and chilli and season with salt and pepper. let cook until translucent and