Friday, March 13, 2015

White Bean, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Plaki

Meat was a luxury menu item when my mother was growing up, so legumes and grains were commonplace fare in their household. You might say that my mom and her family ate vegetarian-style meals more often than not. 

Here’s a slightly modified version of a bean dish that my grandmother used to make. This hearty dish will fill your tummy and satisfy your soul.

NOTE: My grandmother used dried beans which she soaked overnight and made her own red pepper paste for this, and many other dishes. What a gal!
White Bean, Roasted Red Pepper, and Tomato Plaki

White Bean, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Plaki   
Serves 4 to 6 servings
    2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
    1/2 cup roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
    3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for serving)
    Kosher salt, to taste
    freshly ground pepper, to taste
    dash cayenne pepper, or Aleppo red pepper
    1 tsp. dried oregano
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 Tbsp. red pepperpaste (tomato paste may be substituted)
    2 (15-ounce) cans Northern beans (or any other white beans), rinsed and drained
    4 cups vegetable broth, homemade or commercially prepared
    1 cup diced tomatoes (diced canned tomatoes may be used; save the liquid for another use)
    Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley; extra-virgin olive oil; lemon wedges

Step 1
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onions; season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne or Aleppo red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are tender, about 10  minutes. Add roasted red peppers, oregano, minced garlic and red pepper paste, (or tomato paste if using) and cook, stirring often, until paste begins to turn deep red, about 3 minutes. 

Step 2
2. Add beans to the saucepan. Turn heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Stir in 3 cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, until liquid is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and remaining 1 cup broth; simmer for another 5 minutes or until the consistency is somewhat thick, not soupy. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. 
3. Place plaki in a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. 
Serve with lemon wedges.

Special Note: Chopped raw onions may be sprinkled on top, too.

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