What I Like

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I was so intrigued with 101 Cookbook’s Giant Chipotle White Beans recipe that I started my Saturday cooking on Friday.  A tempting mix of giant white beans, tomato-chipotle sauce, kale and white crumbly cheese, it’s cooked like a casserole and topped with a cilantro pesto and breadcrumbs.  It has it all – tangy, starchy, creamy, spicy, smoky.

The recipe is incredibly detailed, so I prepared myself for the long haul, starting with soaking the beans the day before.  The beans also require an hour or two of simmering which is the start of the marathon.  There is a quick tomato sauce which I made with diced tomatoes instead of crushed, minced chipotle peper instead of adobo sauce, and dried, not fresh oregano.  Really no big shakes.

After draining the beans, it’s mixed with the sauce and chopped kale.  Although feta is only meant for the top of the casserole, I mixed it into the body of the beans.  As it baked, I made the cilantro pesto and the bread crumbs (from old dinner rolls, no less).  I thought that would be more like garnishes, but it makes a difference with flashes of flavor and texture.  Overall, it’s pretty awesome.

I realized that it’s not unlike the Union Square Cafe’s Braised Escarole and White Beans with Tomatoes, Mushrooms, and Pecorino, a stovetop affair that can be translated simply into tomato sauce + white beans + greens + cheese = yum.  It’s my go-to vegetarian dish for it’s panoply of flavors.  The chipotle is a welcome change.  It’s what I like.

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