creamy-braised-beans-with-charred-pickles-and-croutons
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Bean love runs deep in the kitchen at Tiny Champions in Houston. Chef Julia Doran recommends using the best-quality beans you can find (like Rancho Gordo) for this recipe. You can skip the toppings and serve these beans with toasted crusty bread, or as an appetizer alongside cheese and pickles. If you want to make this dish vegan, use toum instead of the labneh sauce.

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Ingredients

6 Servings

beans

1

lb. dried large lima beans

5

Tbsp. plus ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

5

garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1

Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper

tsp. fennel seeds

½

tsp. fennel pollen (optional)

1

medium onion, finely chopped

½

fennel bulb, fronds reserved, finely chopped

2

celery stalks, finely chopped

3

wide strips lemon zest

2

bay leaves

1⅓

cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1

Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more

pickled peppers

1

lb. fresh banana peppers, Anaheim chiles, or other sweet peppers

1

small bunch dill

1

Tbsp. coriander seeds

2

tsp. black peppercorns

tsp. fennel seeds

1

tsp. mustard seeds

2

cups distilled white vinegar

¼

cup sugar

2

Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. Morton kosher salt

6

garlic cloves, smashed

Croutons

3

slices sourdough bread, torn into 1″–2″ pieces

¼

cup extra-virgin olive oil

1

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt

½

tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Labneh sauce and assembly

1

cup labneh

1

Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1

garlic clove, finely grated

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Preparation

beans

Step 1

Place beans in a medium bowl and pour in cold water to cover, Let soak 1–3 hours, then drain.

Step 2

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Cook garlic, pepper, fennel seeds, and fennel pollen (if using), stirring often, until garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add onion, fennel, celery, lemon zest, and bay leaves and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, 6–8 minutes. Add beans, broth and 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, then pour in water to cover beans by about ½”. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, adding more water if needed, until beans are tender, 60–65 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Stir in remaining ⅓ cup plus 2 Tbsp. oil.

Pickled peppers

Step 3

Rotate banana peppers directly over the flame of a gas burner until charred all over, about 1 minute per side. (Alternatively, you can broil peppers on a rimmed baking sheet, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 2 minutes per side.) Transfer banana peppers to a medium heatproof bowl and add dill, coriander seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and mustard seeds to bowl.

Step 4

Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1½ cups water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook, stirring often, until sugar and salt are dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour into bowl with banana peppers (they should be submerged) and let sit at least 2 hours.

Step 5

Remove banana peppers from brine and slice before serving.

Do ahead: Peppers can be pickled 5 days ahead. Let cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Cover and chill.

croutons

Step 6

Preheat oven to 400°. Spread bread out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle oil over and toss with your hands until all the bread is lightly coated. Sprinkle salt and black pepper over and toss again to combine.

Step 7

Bake, tossing after 10 minutes, until croutons are golden brown but still chewy in the center, 18–20 minutes.

labneh sauce and assembly

Step 8

Mix labneh, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl; season with salt. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Step 9

Ladle beans evenly among bowls and top each with a dollop of labneh sauce and some pickled peppers, croutons, and fennel fronds; season with a grind or two of pepper.

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