Apricot Bean Salsa

8 08 2012

Salsa comes down to a few key ingredients: jalapeno, lime, and cilantro.  From there, the possibilities are endless, making it the perfect setting to use summer’s ripest fruits.  Adding beans takes it from side dish to main course.

2 cups cooked yellow eye stueben beans

2 large apricots, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 lime, zest and juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To make salsa:  Combine all just before serving. Enjoy in bibb lettuce cups.

If making a day ahead, layer all of the ingredients in a large bowl, with the beans and cilantro on top.  Toss just before serving.  If you toss any sooner, you beans and apricot will get mushy.


Butter Bean Leek Soup

18 07 2012

Creamy, rich butter beans provide body and texture to this addictive soup.  A classic take on French Vichyssoise, traditionalists will serve chilled.  I prefer it warm, straight out of a mug.

3 leeks (about 1 bunch), white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

2 white onions, diced

3 cloves garlic

1 carrot, diced

1 bay leaf

2 cans (about 7 cups) butter beans, no-salt-added, drained and rinsed

In a large soup pot, combine leeks, onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf, and 5 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until leeks and carrot are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the beans to the pot.  Remove the bay leaf.  Puree half of the mixture using a blender (immersion blender preferred).

Cook a few more minutes to bring flavors together.  Garnish with chopped chives, parsley, or just freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Chard, Mushrooms, and Butter Beans

13 06 2012

If you haven’t had butter beans before, do yourself a favor:  Find some, buy some, eat some.  Delicious.  Like Buttah.  If you must substitute, I guess cannelini would be okay.  But not quite “Like Buttah”.

1 bunch Swiss Chard, leaves stripped from stems

8 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed

Loads of freshly ground black pepper

Heat a medium saute pan over high heat.  Chop the chard stems into bite-sized pieces, about the same size as the butter beans.  The mushrooms should also be about this size.  Add the chard and mushrooms to the hot pan and cook until they start to darken, just a few minutes.  Add the tomato paste and a couple tablespoons of water to the pan, lower heat to medium, and continue cooking until stems soften, about 5 minutes.  In the mean time, slice the chard leaves.  Once the stems are soft, add the leaves to the pan and cover.  Cook just until the leaves wilt, about a minute or two.  If needed, add another couple of tablespoons of water to prevent burning.

Toss beans with the black pepper.  Serve a big heap of the chard mix with a few big spoonfuls of beans.  Enjoy.

Combine leftover beans and chard for next day’s lunch.  Or serve with whole wheat pasta for a hearty dinner.