Making a big pot of beans is satisfying on so many levels. It's easy, delicious, and your home will smell amazing while cooking. We love any form of white bean for this dish, but really anything goes. Grab whatever aromatics you have on hand and toss them in a pot with your beans and water and let simmer for an hour or two.
- 1 lb of dried beans, rinsed (soaking optional)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, cut through with skin left on
- 1 shallot, cut through with skin left on
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 1 lemon, halved crosswise
- 1 dried chili pepper (or 1 fresh pepper cut lengthwise)
- Bunch of thyme
- Water - ~6 cups or enough to cover the beans
- Optional: Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnishing and / or leafy greens
Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Place the cut onion, shallot, garlic, and lemon cut side down in the oil. Add the chili pepper and thyme. Let simmer until browned and aromatic. About 5 minutes.
Add the rinsed beans to the pot. Cover with water, so that beans are submerged. Add salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans are tender. Count on cooking for about 1-2 hours, although the time required will depend on the type and quality of the bean.
With a wooden spoon, press the soft, cooked garlic along the edge of the pot so that the beans become infused with garlic. Throw in some leafy greens, if you want, and let them soften. Ladle the broth and beans and whatever trimmings you like into a bowl. Top with shaved parmesan for added depth of flavor.
Eat immediately. If there are any leftovers (doubtful), store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. These beans freeze well too!