Baked Beans and Beets in a White Wine Sauce

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:

  1. Soak the dry beans overnight or up to 24 hours in a generous amount of fresh water, enough to cover by 3’’-4’’.
  2. Drain the beans; add to a pot with more fresh water to cover by 3’’-4’’, along with the kombu and bay leaves.
  3. 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.
  4. When cooked, remove the seaweed and bay and drain the beans.
  5. When the beans are about 1/2 an hour from being done, preheat the oven to 325 F.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the garlic, thyme, tarragon, marjoram and anise seed and stir a minute or two, until fragrant.
  8. Deglaze the pot with the wine and then add the beets, cooked beans, broth and salt.  Stir to mix .                                       DSCN0989
  9. Bake, uncovered, for 2-1/2 hours until the liquid is reduced and the top golden. DSCN0994
  10. Serve.

Variation:

  • 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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