Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Catalan-Style Radicchio and White Bean Stew, posted by Melinda

Radicchio-Bean Soup (source)
Radicchio is one of the bitter greens (along with veggies like endive and escarole) favored by Europeans in general and southern Europeans in particular. We got a beautiful head of it last week. It's *very* good for you, though it's one of those "world-dividers": people either love its bitterness or truly dislike it. Check out its nutritional profile by clicking here. This is vegan, but if you're a meat-eater, you can of course add some sausage or pulled pork or braised beef or even chicken.

Vegan Catalan-Style Radicchio and White Beans--5 servings
  • ~1 cup dried cannellini beans [or you "can" (haha) substitute two 15-oz "cans" of beans]
  • 1 clove garlic, left whole
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 or 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head radicchio, leaves cut or torn into ~1 & 1/2-in. squares [you don't have to obsess over the size & shape!]
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • cracked black pepper for garnish
For the beans: place beans in a bowl & add water to cover by 2 in. Allow to soak overnight. The next day, drain, rinse w/ cold water, and drain again. In medium pot, combine beans, whole garlic, thyme, and cold water to cover by 2 in. Place on high heat to bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium & simmer till tender, ~25-45 min.; do not salt the water. When beans are tender, add 1 or 2 bouillon cubes, to taste, and cook 5 more min; the liquid should taste slightly salty. Drain beans, reserving the liquid; discard garlic & thyme. Set beans & reserved liquid aside. [To substitute canned beans, I would heat the rinsed, canned beans, in water to cover by 2 in., along with the garlic, thyme, and vegetable bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then turn heat off and let it sit while you prepare the radicchio; then proceed with the recipe--I haven't tried that, but it's what I imagine would work.]
Our beautiful radicchio

For the radicchio: in large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of the oil. Add radicchio, turning to coat w/ oil. Add pepper flakes & season w/ salt/pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, till tender (a few min.). Remove from heat & set aside. In separate frying pan over medium heat, add remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add minced garlic and saute till lightly browned, ~2 min. Add beans & 2 cups reserved cooking liquid. Simmer until the liquid becomes somewhat creamy, 5 to 10 min. Add radicchio and parsley & simmer 10 min. more, adding more reserved cooking liquid if the mixture seems too thick. Serve in bowls, garnished w/ a sprinkling of cracked black pepper. [If you're not vegan, you might also shred some sharp pecorino-romano cheese atop the stew.]  (Recipe source)

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