recipe by Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans
Beans are a wonderful source of inexpensive protein. The benefit of farmers market beans is that they are so much fresher than those you’d procure at the grocery store. You may find that the flavor and texture are quite different than what you’re used to, and that the cooking time is less, due to their freshness.
Limited on time? Cook a large amount of beans and freeze what you will not use right away, along with the cooking liquid, in food storage containers or in plastic bags in the freezer. Thaw containers to use as needed in any recipe that calls for canned or fresh beans. And use the cooking liquid for soups – it’s delicious!
2 cups dried beans (soaked in cold water several hours or overnight if desired)
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
7 fresh sage leaves
1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled & seeded , or 1 pound of canned whole tomatoes, separated from the juice (break each tomato into 4 pieces with your fingers)
~salt and pepper
- Pick over the beans, removing any stones or little clumps of earth, and then rinse the beans thoroughly. Soak them if desired. Drain the beans and place them in a pot. Add fresh cold water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer steadily but gently until tender but not mushy (start checking the beans after about 40 minutes). Turn off the heat and let the beans settle for 10 minutes. Stir in 1⁄2 tsp. salt and let the beans cool in the pot so that they absorb some of the cooking liquid.
- To prepare the cooked beans, gently heat the oil in a skillet large enough to comfortably accommodate all of the beans. Add the garlic and cook for several minutes until the garlic has flavored the oil and the cloves have colored a light golden brown. Add the sage leaves to the oil. Let them sizzle for a few seconds, and then add the tomatoes. Be careful when adding the tomatoes to the hot oil, as they may splatter. Let the mixture cook for 2 minutes.
- Drain the beans, reserving the bean cooking liquid. Add the drained beans to the pan, along with a cup of bean cooking liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, adding reserved bean water as the mixture thickens, so that you keep the beans creamy, almost a little soupy. Adjust seasonings and serve drizzled with good olive oil if desired and accompanied by a slice of rustic country bread.