Yield: 10 cups
A delicately coloured, creamy and herb-studded stew with lots of white wine baked down to a rich sauce. Served with some crusty bread, everyone will head back to the pot for seconds. Bonus: most of the cooking time is inactive, freeing up some space in a busy weekend schedule.
What you need:
- 2 cups dried baby lima beans (or if you don’t like limas, then Great Northern or cannellini beans would also work well)
- A 3” piece of kombu seaweed
- 5 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 onions, peeled and finely diced, 3 cups
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram (you can go up to 1/2 teaspoon if your marjoram doesn’t taste too strong – mine was home-grown and dried which is WAAAAY stronger than the usual grocery store stuff)
- 1/8 teaspoon anise seed
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth
- Chioggia beets, peeled and cut into 1/2” dice, measure 3 cups of the diced raw beets
- 2 teaspoons salt (less if your broth is salted)
What you do:
- Soak the dry beans overnight or up to 24 hours in a generous amount of fresh water, enough to cover by 3’’-4’’.
- Drain the beans; add to a pot with more fresh water to cover by 3’’-4’’, along with the kombu and bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat. Simmer on stove-top until beans are cooked, about 40 minutes. You could also pressure cook the beans for 5 minutes and allow a natural pressure release.
- When cooked, remove the seaweed and bay and drain the beans.
- When the beans are about 1/2 an hour from being done, preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Heat the olive oil over medium in a large Dutch oven or oven-safe cooking pot. Add the onions and sauté 25-30 minutes, until the onions are golden and reduced. Turn down the heat as the onions cook so they don’t brown.
- Add the garlic, thyme, tarragon, marjoram and anise seed and stir a minute or two, until fragrant.
- Deglaze the pot with the wine and then add the beets, cooked beans, broth and salt. Stir to mix .
- Bake, uncovered, for 2-1/2 hours until the liquid is reduced and the top golden.
- Change the hue of the stew by using red beets, or yellow beets, or white beets, or a combination thereof instead of the pink beets.
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