Friday, August 1, 2014

Archive Recipe: White Beans with Sage and Garlic

I don’t gush much on these pages. I mean really gush with true excitement and glee. They’d probably be more popular if I did. After all, how are you supposed to know what’s worth trying to get excited about if I don’t even offer any suggestions? Well, here you are: white beans. Yup, start trying to get excited about white beans. With sage and garlic. Yum! I love, love, LOVE this recipe.

Okay, so when I make it I don’t rely so much on a recipe. I more or less gather up some cooked (or canned) white beans, fresh sage (that I grow in a pot on my patio), garlic, olive oil, and some flavorful cooking liquid, such as broth or white wine. I gently fry the garlic and sage in a good amount of that olive oil until the garlic is just a bit browned and the sage is crisp, then I remove them, leaving a nicely flavored oil behind. I then add the beans to that oil along with the broth or wine and cook them until the liquid is a thick and luscious emulsion. I add salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle the fried sage and garlic on the beans to serve. Again, can I say it? YUM!

When I posted this recipe before, I was beginning a trip through my cookbooks, trying to test and report on at least one recipe from each book. Um, ahem. That project didn’t go so well. Somehow my enthusiasm and commitment to what sounded like such a delicious idea (not to mention a way to weed out cookbooks I would probably never actually use) fizzled.

But my enthusiasm and commitment to serving White Beans with Sage and Garlic has never failed. It hasn’t even waned. Not one little bit. I buy a sage plant at a garden center every spring, so I can make these beans. I cook up extra white beans whenever I need them for a recipe, so I’ll have enough to make this dish. I’ve been making this for years and I won’t stop eating it anytime soon.

I usually serve this as a main dish with some bread and often a salad or other vegetable. (I really like this bread with it.) It also makes a good side dish for something like chicken or pork chops. It’s simple but wonderfully delicious and satisfying. As of right now, I implore you to join me in getting really, really excited about White Beans with Sage and Garlic! Yum!

White Beans with Sage and Garlic
Adapted from A New Way to Cook  by Sally Schneider

5-6 medium to large garlic cloves
about 10 large sage leaves (or up to 20 very small ones)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups cooked white beans (about 2 16-ounce cans) drained and rinsed
¼ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
coarse salt and black pepper to taste

1. Peel the garlic and thinly slice it.  Cut the sage leaves into ¼-inch slices.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic slices and cook a few minutes, just until they begin to brown slightly.  Remove the lightly-browned garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3.  Add the sage to the oil.  Cook for about 1 minute or until the leaves look darker and somewhat crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the garlic.

4.  Add the beans and wine or broth to the oil along with some salt and pepper to taste.  Increase the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring gently, until only a little thickened liquid remains in the pan. Tasted and adjust seasonings if desired.  Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cooked garlic and sage.

Makes about 2-3 main dish or 4-6 side dish servings.

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