Gigante Beans with Escarole and Roasted Garlic
Meal: Lunch or Dinner
Style: Vegan Main Entree
Yield: 24 servings
You'll find gigante beans in Mediterranean stores or at specialty food markets such as Whole Foods, Andronico’s or Draeger’s. If they aren't available, substitute a white bean such as Great Northern or flageolets but I recommend trying to find gigante beans as the presentation is much nicer. Beans must be soaked overnight so plan ahead.
Accompaniments: Warm, rustic, crusty bread
Ingredients for Roasted Garlic
Garlic cloves, whole 15 ea
Olive Oil 2 pints
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place garlic in a oven proof dish an pour olive oil until the garlic cloves are just covered. Cover the dish with aluminum and cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Do not overcook as the garlic will burn and taste rancid. Remove from heat and set aside.
Gigante Beans (soak overnight) 3 cups
Escarole, dark leafy tops rinsed and chopped 6 bunches
Bay Leaves 4 ea
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil ¾ cup
Onion, small dice 3 ea
Carrot, peeled and small dice 6 ea
Celery, small dice 1 head
Anise seed 2 Tb
Red pepper flakes 2 tsp
Lemon zest 4 lemons
Thyme, chopped ½ bunch
Parsley, chopped 1 bunch
Using a strainer, rinse beans. Place rinsed beans in a medium bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight. Drain beans and rinse; put beans in a medium pot and cover with 6 inches of water. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender. Season with salt and cook an additional 5 minutes. Drain beans and discard bay leaves.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and stir frequently until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted garlic, escarole, anise seed, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest and cook for 1 minute. Add beans and thyme to vegetables and cook for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cool. Toss with parsley just before serving.