Fresh Shell Bean Ragout
Fresh shelling beans, such as cranberry, cannellini, flageolet, lima, or French horticultural beans, show up at farmers markets at the end of July through the fall months. The color of the pod generally indicates the color of the bean. Look for pods that have a leathery feel and are lumpy, an indication the beans inside are plump and ready to be eaten.
2 pounds fresh shelling beans, such as cranberry, cannellini, flageolet,
or lima beans
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 to 3 teaspoons fresh savory
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Shell beans. Place shelled beans in 4-quart Dutch oven; add water to cover. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; add the 1 teaspoon salt. Cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; let beans cool in their liquid, about 1 hour.
Drain beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. In same Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Add garlic, savory, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more. Return beans and reserved liquid to pot; stir. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Season to taste. To serve, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
*Dried Bean Option:
Rinse 8 ounces dried cranberry or cannellini beans. In Dutch oven, combine beans and 5 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 1 hour. (Or, omit simmering; soak beans in cold water overnight in covered Dutch oven.) Drain and rinse. In same Dutch oven combine beans and 5 cups fresh water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Drain beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Proceed with paragraph 2 above.
Make Ahead Tip: Beans may be shelled the day before use. Store, covered, in refrigerator.