As a southerner, I am intimate with a pot of beans and a pan of fried potatoes (and, of course, the cornbread). But, while delicious, I hate frying potatoes (shhh…don’t tell my mom)–it makes the house smell and it’s not terribly healthy. I also don’t always have the time or capacity to soak dry beans and then cook them (though this is not a hard thing to do; I’m just occasionally disorganized and unplanned). All reasons why I fell so in love with Mark Bittman’s French-style Boulangerie Beans and Potatoes: cooked in one dish and ready in 45 minutes. I have modified his recipe to eliminate the butter; I also eliminated some steps to make it all the easier. This dish marries beans and potatoes in a very special way; creamy beans topped with crispy potatoes, all with a little kick of smoke from the paprika.
Ingredients (to serve 4):
- 4 cans Cannellini beans
- 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika,plus a little extra for sprinkling on top (optional–but if you like smokey flavors, do not omit!)
- 2-3 medium potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise and then thinly sliced into semi-circles
- 2 cups of no sodium vegetable stock
- olive oil
Note: The photos below show a 9×9 dish since I cut the recipe in half. Don’t be alarmed!
1. Heat the oven to 375.
2. In a 13×9 baking dish, add the beans (don’t bother rinsing or draining, you want the liquid as it will help braise the beans and keep them from drying out in the oven!), thyme and paprika. Stir and mix it together. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking (if the canned beans had salt, you won’t need to add much at all, if any). If you’re feeling adventurous, you could stir in a half(ish) cup of sauteed onions or leeks here, but this is totally optional.
3. Cover the beans with the potatoes, layering and overlapping them until the whole dish is covered. Pour the cup of stock over the potatoes. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with a little more smoked paprika and thyme as well as some salt and pepper.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes or until there is very little (nearly no) stock left in the dish.
5. Serve with a roasted vegetable, such as asparagus or broccoli. Sauteed spinach or kale would be good here, too. Or, if you’re feeling like frisky, a side salad is super, too. Just make sure you eat this with a green vegetable, okay?