Creamy and smoky-spicy beans simmered with sliced fennel and topped with eggs for a nourishing breakfast, brunch or light supper for two. Easily vegan and easily doubled.
by Kelllie@foodtoglow > Simple one-pan meals are my new favourite way to cook. And sometimes eat. As in actually eat out of the pan.
In mitigation, we are hard at it renovating a very old flat in Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town. When I mean old, I am talking built in the 1820s. So, ‘New Town’ is a bit of a misnomer. This designation is to distinguish it from the really old part of this grand city, the Old Town – Edinburgh’s medieval heart. **
We’ve temporarily traded fairly calm and restorative weekends at home for dashing back and forth to the recycling centre with old carpets and battered sofas. Not from the 19th century, of course.It is very gradually coming together – give or take a new kitchen and bathroom, and finding a new home for the full-sized table tennis table (don’t ask) – but it’s not leaving me much time to spend in my own kitchen and here on the blog. Honest to goodness I stood in the guilty glare of our fridge this week, contemplating whether to eat from the week-old hummus pot or the dish of cold pasta. I opted for the pasta, onto which I added a dollop of elderly dip. I didn’t bother to heat it up.
Beans, hummus, pasta and eggs have been our go-tos of late. My cupboards are usually well-stocked so I really have no excuse not to rustle up something vaguely interesting with any of these. But enthusiasm is somewhat lacking. If it was up to Andrew we would have baked potatoes or beans on toast most nights, so it’s only me that misses more substantial and inspired meals.
But sometimes inspiration and enthusiasm is easy to find, if you just take a moment to look for it. Or let it find you. I was flicking through a recent Bon Appetit, drooling over the adverts for $50k-plus kitchens (sigh), when a recipe for spicy creamy beans with runny eggs grabbed my focus (above). The pan of rosy-hued, saucy chickpeas was draped with prosciutto, and called for a cup of cream (!), but I knew that I was basically looking at that evening’s dinner.
And maybe you are looking at your evening’s dinner. Whether this is a kind of shakshuka, or just posh beans on toast, it’s the kind of supper for busy days. Or a hearty weekend breakfast or cosy brunch. It’s quite amazing how such simple ingredients, simply treated, can taste so good and be good for you.
I have a feeling I will still be making this long after the paint has dried.
The cute, slightly rude rhyme about beans being “a magical fruit” aside, beans are hugely nutritious and versatile. Edible, dry beans are members of the legume family and provide a varied portfolio of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients for only a modest amount of calories. Full of fiber, folate, iron, potassium and magnesium, beans contain little to no fat and are also our cheapest source of protein. It should be noted however that beans, and most other plant sources of protein, are “incomplete” and should be eaten as part of a varied diet.
Eating beans is associated in numerous studies with the risk reduction of all manner of diseases and conditions, including diabetes (they help manage blood sugar and increase fullness), heart disease (they are stellar LDL cholesterol reducers) and a number of cancer types – possibly related to compounds in the fibers.
How To Prep Beans
To reduce the gassiness from beans, I recommend the “cold soak” method over the quicker methods. For this method you cover the beans in five times the volume of cold water and soak for 8-12 hours, then thoroughly rinse before cooking at a slightly reduced cooking time. But the quick soak method is fine if beans don’t affect your gut. However you prep them thoroughly rinse soaked beans and cooked beans before eating. Do this with tinned beans too as this will also help remove some of the salt. Here’s an article on beans that tells you everything you could possibly want to know about these wonderful plants, including how to cook them. For this recipe, use either canned or home-cooked beans.
** if you are from Edinburgh – or know Edinburgh – and want to follow a funny account about the New Town, check out New Town Flâneur. It’s a witty and pretty accurate parody of the inhabitants of this part of the city. 🙂
Creamy Spicy Skillet Beans and Eggs
Creamy and smoky-spicy beans simmered with sliced fennel and topped with eggs for a nourishing breakfast, brunch or light supper for two. Easily vegan and easily doubled. Enjoy! xx
**adapted from a recipe on Bon Appetit (March 2018 edition)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 sprig rosemary
3-4 large sage leaves,
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 rounded tbsp sun-dried tomato paste or pesto
350g (12 oz) tomato passata or jarred chopped tomatoes (I use Cirio Passata Rustica )
250g cooked and rinsed cannellini beans, white beans or chickpeas (I use Cirio Cannellini Beans )
Salt and pepper, optional
3 tbsp crème fraîche or vegan equivalent
2 large organic eggs, optional
Pink Peppercorns , optional
1. Heat the oil in a skillet on a medium heat. Gently cook the garlic, rosemary and sage until lightly browned (turn the rosemary over once or twice). Scoop each out with a slotted spoon as they become golden and onto a paper towel. Set aside.
2. Add the fennel to the pan and saute until soft and slightly coloured. Add the paprikas and fennel seeds to the pan and cook for a minute, before adding the sun-dried tomato paste or pesto, the passata, and the beans. Let this cook for a two minutes then taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt and pepper as desired. Stir in the créme fraîche.
3. Crack the eggs into the saucy beans and cover with a lid (Bon Appetit recommends covering with a baking sheet if you don’t have a lid). Simmer the beans and eggs until the whites of the eggs are set but the yolks are nicely runny. Sprinkle over the reserved crispy garlic and crumble over the herbs. Add some fragrant whole pink peppercorns too, if you like.
Serve with bread or grains, or even over roasted cauliflower.
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