White Beans with Sage

White Beans with Sage

What did we eat with our insanely good Herbed Flatbread? Why, White Beans with Sage, of course! So satisfying in this stupid (as Harry would call it—everything is “stupid” these days, unless it’s “poopy”) weather. Silky, velvety, smooth… scooping them up with torn pieces of flatbread is just the thing to do when it’s too dreary to do much of anything. And using The Paupered Chef’s no-soak method, which I first tried with Frijoles Negros in 90 Minutes, they’re ready in—you guessed it—just about 90 minutes.

Oh, and do yourself a favor: Stop with the supermarket dried beans. Molly Watson’s eye-opening post on just how old they really are came at exactly the right/wrong time, while mine were in the oven. Yup, I feasted on dusty Goya beans that were in all likelihood older than Harry.

White Beans with Sage
Adapted from Saveur
Serves 6-8
Weight Watchers: 6 servings are 11 PointsPlus each; 8 servings are 8 PointsPlus each

1 pound dried navy or cannellini beans
1 medium onion, halved
through the root
1 head garlic, split in half, loose papery peels discarded
2 small sprigs fresh sage leaves, plus 6 more leaves
5 black peppercorns
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Set the oven to 250°F. Place the beans, onion, garlic, sprigs of sage, peppercorns, and 1/4 cup oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the flame, cover the pot, and put it in the oven.
  2. Set a timer for 60 minutes, and check the beans. Odds are they’ll be softening but not cooked, so add some salt and give them 15-20 minutes more and check again, and check again every 15-20 until they’re tender.
  3. Cool the beans, uncovered, in their cooking liquid. Strain, but reserve the liquid—you’ll want that if you use the leftovers for soup or pasta sauce. Remove and discard the large pieces of onion and the peppercorns. Transfer the beans to a mixing bowl. Chop the remaining 6 sage leaves and stir into the beans, along with the remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil. Add a little of the cooking liquid if it looks too dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

MAKE BABY FOOD: Are you kidding? These are perfect for early eaters! Puree some with a bit of the cooking water, or scatter a handful of cooked beans on the high chair tray and let baby go to town.

P.S. This makes enough beans that you should have abundant leftovers. One night I used some to make a quick pasta sauce (saute some chopped garlic, add about a cup of beans & a bit of the pot liquor, throw in some frozen chopped greens—Whole Foods has nice choices in their 365 Everyday Value line). Tonight I took what beans were left, including all the cooking liquid, and made a vegetable soup (saute chopped garlic & carrot, after a couple minutes add chopped zucchini; drain beans & reserve—add the liquid plus 4-6 cups of broth and/or water to the pot; simmer 10 mins & add 1/2 cup small dry pasta; simmer another 10 & add beans; adjust seasoning; serve with grated Parm).