Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Glorious Bourguignon of Beans

beans bourguignon close

There are few things as comforting as a warm bowl of soupy beans.
Whether they are red, black, pink or pinto, a good bowl of beans never fails to satisfy.

As a child, I would always help my dad to make the famous family secret beans recipe. Made with a blend of pinto and pequiño beans, hamhock and garlic, and a special mix of spices, eating these beans was truly a transcendent experience. It is a recipe that simply must be shared... but not today.

No, I’m afraid that for the time being the family secret, which must be passed on to a male heir, is safe. However, I do have another recipe for you. It’s one that I developed and it is, of course, a winner!

When making beans recently, I realized there are many parallels between the creation of a batch of fine beans and beef stew. Like boiling and uh long cooking times… I think I made them both on Sundays. In any case, I was inspired to combine the two recipes into one glorious bourguignon of beans!

Beans Bourguignon Recipe
1 cup pinto beans
1 cup black beans

1 cup of Pinot Noir
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoons of fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons of garlic
1 small yellow onion – diced
a strip of orange peel
1 teaspoon of salt + more to taste
Pepper to taste

bean fixin's

Begin by thoroughly washing beans in a colander and removing any deformed and half-beans as well as any errant debris you may find. When the beans are washed, place them in a large pot and soak them over night.

12-24 hours later…
Drain the beans, return them to your large stock, and fill the pot with enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches.

Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat until the water is at a simmer. Allow the beans to cook through until they are soft but just slightly al dente. Depending on the hardness of your water, this can take an hour or two (or looooonger).

When the beans are ready, drain the liquid, preserving 1 cup of the broth.

Return the cup of preserved broth to the beans, add the wine, tomato sauce, rosemary, garlic, onion, orange peel and salt.

Note: when making beans, it is important to always add the salt to the beans during the final stage of cooking. Adding it too early will make the water too saline for the beans to get soft :(

Mix all of the ingredients in with the beans until everything is evenly incorporated and return the pot to heat until it reaches a simmer. Allow to cook for another hour and bon apetito!

beans bourguignon

I think this is a fun, experimental recipe and I’m pleased to be able to share it. I also think it makes a fine beef stew replacement for my vegetarian readers. The richness and bold flavors of a bourguignon without the burden of flesh!

P.S. You might have noticed the carrots in the assembly picture above. I did add carrots to the mix initially but I didn't like the flavor combination so I removed them and consequently omitted them from the final recipe. And now you know.