You wouldn’t believe me if I told you someone else ate the whole pot of beans before I could even fully enjoy a bowl of them. Well, they did. The day that I was recipe developing, I took photographs of the wildly Spring contents, then ran out to Brooklyn to spend some time with Danny, thinking there’d be enough for me to try when I return. (It serves 4 people, people!) How wrong was I. I received a text: “they were delicious! I finished them off with a baguette.” Ha! There’s a serving suggestion for you, am I right?
And so I made it again the next day, each spoonful creating a sigh, hiding in my room with the pot til I was ready to share.
The heirloom beans are called Jacob’s Cattle Beans. And I love them.
I eyed their small and spotted bodies at a farmstand at Union Square, where I also bought everything else that wound up in this recipe. Ramps. Tomatoes. Olives. Garlic. Dill. As usual, I had no idea they’d be coming together. Every time I make beans, I “beanstorm” (as Dan calls it) the day before, but shrug off everything I stormed on about. So to get things moving along in the morning, I simmer them in a pot til I remember that, yes, I have ramps, tomatoes, olives, garlic, and dill. How would this taste if they all got together? Perhaps a little too good. Perhaps good enough to eat…a whole pot’s worth? With a baguette. Don’t forget the baguette.
For this recipe, any variety of beans will do, just make sure they are mostly similar in size if using more than one variety. The bigger one will always take a tad longer to cook. And if you have an Instagram or TikTok, find me on there! I am about to post a video of me making these beans using what I have!
citrus braised beans, tomatoes, and olives
for the beans after it's overnight soak
- 1 cup dried beans any variety but similar in size if using more than 1
- 1 carrot halved (optional)
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 a head of garlic tips cut off to reveal cloves
- 3 sprigs fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, tarragon) OR
- 1-2 bay leaves
- water enough to cover the beans
- 1-2 parmesan rinds
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved if big
- 8-10 castelvetrano or grilled olives
- 1/2 head of garlic from previous step OR
- 1 small bunch ramps when in season
- 2 long strips of orange zest
- 1 long strip of lemon zest
- 1-1 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- drizzle of olive oil
for the beans after their soak
- Put everything listed in an ovenproof pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Longer if using a bigger variety of beans. You want them slightly tender as they will continue cooking in the oven later.
- Discard the onion, carrot, and herbs.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Most of the water from the previous step would have evaporated. Once you've added the rest of the ingredients listed, cover the beans with broth, bring to a boil, then cover the pot with it's lid and give it some time in the oven, for about an hour. During the last 15 minutes, take off the lid so that the surface can caramelize. Feel free to add more broth if you'd like.
As for the garlic? They should be buttery at this point. Squeeze a clove out of it’s peel and spread it, like butter, on a piece of bread. I promise they are in there for a reason (not just to create a beautiful broth).
This is what the latest batch looked like. As you can see, ramps aren’t here yet but I do think they will appear any day now! I used 3 variety of beans and grilled olives. Served it with homemade sourdough focaccia.