This is Joe Yonan’s take on Heartland author and chef Lenny Russo’s wonderfully satisfying bowl of beans and bitter greens amps up the garlic and uses the rich bean cooking liquid instead of stock. Serve these beans over toast to make it a meal.
2 cups dried great Northern beans (may substitute navy, cannellini, or other white
beans), soaked overnight and drained
1 onion, studded with 12 whole cloves
2 large carrots
1 (3 by 5-inch) strip kombu (dried seaweed)
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 thick slices rustic sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1 tablespoon chile oil (optional)
1/4 cup vegan or traditional Parmesan, grated or shaved
Combine the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring the beans to a boil. Let then boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat so the beans are at a bare simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can cook the beans, water, and aromatic vegetables in a stovetop or electric pressure cooker: Bring to high pressure and cook for 17 minutes if using a stovetop model or 20 minutes for electric. Let the pressure release naturally, then open.)
Discard the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves and strain the beans, reserving all of the cooking liquid.
In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Stir in the broccoli rabe and sauté until very tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the drained beans, 1 1/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, and the salt. Cook just until the beans are hot and the flavours have melded, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, taste, and add more salt if needed.
Divide the toast among shallow serving bowls. Drizzle with the chile oil, if desired, and spoon the bean mixture and broth on top. Finish with the Parm and serve hot.
Excerpted from Cool Beans by Joe Yonan (Ten Speed Press). Copyright © 2020. Photos by Aubrie Pick, food styling by Lillian Kang, courtesy Ten Speed Press.