Help! Cooking with cannellini beans--without being bogged down.
Recently I've made both a cassoulet and a pasta dish calling for (canned) cannellini beans. I dutifully added them, but despite simmering in garlic, tomatoes, and all sorts of other delicious ingredients, the final result seems bogged down by the beans. The dishes were delicious, but the beans seemed to dull it down a lot every time you got a bite of them. It's such a waste for an amazing dish to just taste like big bites of protein.
Has anyone else had this experience? Have any tips to imbibe the beans themselves with some kind of extra flavor before adding them? I'm at a loss here and don't want to give up on those recipes!
This from a blog http://groundcherry.wordpress.com/201... . Worked for us.
Seasoning beans as they cook forces the flavor farther into the bean rather than just over the surface. To season the beans as they are cooking, soak and set aside in a strainer. Add 1 T to 1/4 c oil to the pot. When hot, add any onion, celery, shallots, and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in the herbs or spices, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beans. Stir well. Add water to cover plus 1 inch. Simmer, covered, until tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed. Adjust the seasoning toward the end of the cooking time. Finish with any fresh herbs, extra oil, lemon juice or vinegar. Puree if desired.
Agree about seasoning beans as they cook from dried. I use a pressure cooker, but other use a slow cooker, or you can simmer them on the stove. In my experience the beans pick up the flavor from the chicken broth and other stuff I use to cook them in, in the last few minutes as they soften up. If you don't over cook them to begin with, they hold up well in a second cooking.
I make a dish with cannellini beans where I saute an onion, when that's almost done I and the crushed garlic and sage, saute for a minute then saute the beans in with the other things. They turn out good. The remainder of the dish is diced tomatoes and four links of sausage and let it simmer.
I agree that freshly cooked dry beans taste better than canned, but I still like canned beans. Maybe you just don't really care for beans?
If I were you I'd try using a smaller amount of beans in a recipe with a lot of stronger-tasting ingredients. Alternatively they can be pureed into a vegetable soup of your choice (asparagus or artichoke work very well), and will make it creamier in texture and more filling.
Did you rinse the beans in a colander before adding them to the recipe? I didn't do this the first time I made cassoulet, and the results were heavy and dull. I read a tip about rinsing the 'gunk' off the canned beans, and all subsequent cassoulets were bright and fresh. Hope this helps!