{recipe} Creamy White Bean Stew with Parmesan and Greens

creamy white bean stew with greens and parmesanMy husband has been flirting with the idea of going vegetarian, and while I don’t think us meat-lovers will ever get all the way there, it is fun to try and incorporate more vegetarian and almost-vegetarian dishes into our regular dinner repertoire. This one is a new favorite, with slow-braised white beans, kale, arugula, and spinach. It’s a definite winner!

The stew is flavored by a bit of bacon, a tiny amount of anchovies, and a parmesan rind. This is like an umami trifecta! If you’re worried about the anchovies being fishy, don’t: they just add a nuttiness and a complexity to the finished dish. To make it vegetarian, just omit the bacon and anchovies.

It does take a bit of time to simmer on the stove, and some time in advance to soak the beans, so you’ll need some advance planning to make this happen. Totally worth it!

Serve it with extra shavings of parmesan and a crusty baguette. It’s perfect for the cold fall weather coming our way.

RECIPE: Creamy White Bean Stew with Parmesan and Greens
serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound dry white cannellini beans
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 6 anchovies, chopped finely
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups arugula leaves
  • 3-4 cups kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • parmesan for serving

METHOD:

  • Boil a large pot of salted water. Once it comes to a boil, turn it off and add the dry beans. Soak beans for 3-4 hours, stirring a few times.
  • Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add anchovies and saute until anchovies are melted into oil.
  • Add bacon, onion, paprika, and chili flakes. Stir and cook to brown bacon and soften onion, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds more, stirring, until fragrant.
  • Add soaked white beans, chicken broth, six cups of water, and the parmesan rind to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cover and cook for 1 hour, then remove lid and cook for 1-2 more hours, until beans are breaking down and the stew is getting dry. If it seems to be getting too dry without the beans being fully cooked, add more water one cup at a time.
  • Add spinach, arugula, and kale. Taste and add more chili flakes, salt, or pepper if needed. Cook about 5-10 minutes, stirring, until greens are fully wilted and incorporated.
  • Serve with shavings of fresh parmesan and a baguette.
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