Who knows why, but I had a craving for “Jacques Ragout of White Beans” this weekend to go with our grilled chicken instead of the usual BBQ baked beans. I pulled out the old recipe from my file and Michael, who loves to cook these days, put the dish together without a hitch. We love carrots and mushrooms, so we added them to the recipe and it was heaven. It’s still heaven, since we have leftovers and will be polishing them off tonight. White beans are incredibly versatile, but they’re also very healthy. If you’ve never made this recipe, don’t hesitate! It goes great with lamb, beef, fish or as a vegetarian entree. Enjoy.
- 1 lb. Great Northern or other small white beans,
sorted through and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 oz. lean pancetta, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
While the beans are cooking, in a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta, toss to coat with the oil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the onions, garlic, thyme and the 1/4 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are soft, about 10 minutes more.
When the beans are nearly tender, stir in the pancetta-onion mixture and return to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beans are done, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Strain or ladle out any liquid covering the beans.
For a thick, creamy texture, remove 1 cup of the beans and puree in a blender or food processor; stir the puree through the rest of the beans. Adjust the seasonings as needed with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle the chopped parsley over the beans.