Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

This Old Chef: Blog & Recipes

For Your Consideration: Super Bean-y Bowls!

Posted on February 2, 2018 with 0 comments


I realize, Dear Reader, that you run the risk of being openly mocked if your Super Bowl offerings are too culinarily high-toned.  But please consider the following recipes, in the spirit of feeding lots of people really tasty (and simple!) food that may even offer some (shudder) nutrition...  And of course, they're even better the second day!

Truly Excellent Red Bean & Chorizo Dip

This fabulous dip of mine was once rejected by a major magazine for being too chunky!  We love it, though, and so will your guests:  red beans, a little sour cream, some garlic, a bit of water or stock, a little smoked paprika, a pinch of cayenne or a few shots of hot sauce, salt, lemon/lime juice.  Process/fold in minced chorizo and chopped scallions...  Yes, it's very thick and kinda... pink... but boy is it good.  A LOT better than the smooth stuff in the can!


Black Bean Chili

I am about to do some serious debunking...

You heard me!  De-Bunking!

It was 4 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon.  I really wanted to make a vegetarian black bean chili, but alas...

No soaked beans.  No canned beans.  Just two (2) bags of dried ones.  Staring at me.  With disapproval.

Why didn't you plan ahead and soak us?, they sneered.  Those beany sneers egged me on, forced me to do something unheard of:  I would cook dried, unsoaked black beans!

The Horror!  The Heresy!

I figured that if they didn't soften fast enough, I could finish cooking them, make something else for dinner, and use the beans another day.  And... edging even further down the road of Foodie Disobedience...

I salted the water!

In for a penny...

While these Rogue Beans simmered away, I made the rest of the chili in another pan.  I sautéed chopped onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and some dragon cayennes from the yard, along with smoked salt, black pepper, chili powder, dried oregano, and a can of tomatoes.

This was so good I thought we might eat it even if the beans failed...  As, of course, I knew they would... right?  Don't "they" all say Soak Soak Soak... Never Salt At The Beginning, etc.?

Guess what?  Within 2 hours, the beans were perfect.  I added 4 cups of the beans to the chili mixture, let that simmer for a bit, corrected the seasoning...

Filled hot bowls... Grated some cheddar... Spooned on some sour cream... Sprinkled with scallions...

And...  In A LOT less than 3 hours start-to-service...

Gorgeous chili on the table.  And once we stirred this smoky, creamy, beany, cheesy, crunchy, oniony, tomato-y melange together, it was as lusciously rich and satisfying as I'd hoped!

Take that, Old Wives' Tales!

Take that, Food Police Rules!

And, I have two containers of wonderful cooked black beans in the fridge...

Just waiting to become...

Something wonderful!

Tuscan Beans!

(Baked Cannellini Beans with Sage, Prosciutto and Tuna)

OK, so shoot me, these are not your mama's baked beans, but...

I like many things.

Hyperbole is one of those things.

However, having admitted that...

Giuliano Bugialli's Tuscan beans with tuna and pancetta may be my favorite meal in the whole world.


I've played around with the recipe a bit, but the basics are his... and ever amazing.

I make a double recipe because these freeze very well.  But I have to admit, there's not a lot left to freeze once I start wolfing this down!

Soak a pound of cannellini beans overnight.  Drain and rinse them.

Preheat your oven to 400° and, in a large heavy pot (this is the moment to use Le Creuset if you have it), combine the beans, 4-5 cups water, a few big sprigs of sage from the garden, a lot of chopped garlic, 2-3t salt, and about 1/3 C EVOO.

One of my big variations comes now:  instead of pancetta, I buy prosciutto ends from my butcher.  These are too small for pretty slices, so they'll often sell you chunks for far less than the cost of regular prosciutto!  I cut it up in small dice and add it to the pot...

Cover the pot and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally until the beans are tender.  Remove the cover and simmer on the stove a bit more until it starts to thicken.  Add some canned or bagged (worlds better!) tuna, some lemon juice or zest, and a ton of black pepper.

With a good baguette, a hearty red...

This will send you to Tuscany for about 1/1,000,000th of the cost.

Well.  Hyperbole is one of those things.