Monday, November 24, 2014

Vegans can Braise Too!!

I always thought of braising as a meaty cooking technique. Anytime that I've heard someone braising on a cooking show, it always seems to be some kind of meat stew type concoction. So yesterday I was making some pesto, and I decided to cook up some dry white beans thinking I would just toss these in with the pesto and pasta. About halfway through cooking, I started thinking I wanted to turn the beans into their own dish, that would compliment the pesto. For whatever weird reason, braising popped into my head. I feel like braising might just be a different or fancier way of saying stewing something. With braising, you sear first, then stew I guess. I didn't sear my white beans, but I did follow traditional braising instructions. I took about two cups of cooked white beans, added it to a pan with one sautéed onion, and two minced cloves of garlic, added a generous pinch of dried basil, a pinch of red pepper, salt and pepper, and two cups of veg broth, and let it simmer away for a little over 45 minutes. You want to stir periodically and when the beans are somewhat broken down, and most of the liquid is absorbed, the beans are ready! They turn so buttery and savory. You can add whatever herbs you like, and mix and match. I stuck with dried basil to match my pesto, but I think next time I will try rosemary and thyme. I think a batch of this, served with some bread to smear these on would be what I would consider a simple but beyond satisfying dinner. A little drizzle of olive oil over top when they're done would probably really gild the lily. To me, this dish reminded me that cheap little old beans can be turned into something really simple and delicious, but also dare I say elegant.

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