Savoy and Cannellini Stew
Over the weekend, I ended up having to run a few more errands than I would really have liked – which definitely isn’t really conducive to my Stop-Being-So-Busy-All-The-Time strategy. Fortunately, it didn’t end up being too inconvenient, and I got quite a few things done. Saturday, I ended up spending most of the afternoon shuttling Miss Thing around. She had a thing for her team that she needed to attend, which ended up taking a huge chunk out of my day. It was also unfortunate in that directly afterwards her coach tried to guilt me in to letting her go to an extra practice session that evening. blergh.
Anyhow, the next day – Sunday, Mr. Man and I decided that we were going to get back to home brewing – so we decided to take a trip over to our local brewing supply store. Our inspiration for it started in the form or a recent post I saw on Homemade Hard Cider over at The Paupered Chef. I mean – we’d been thinking about making another batch of beer for a while, but it hadn’t actually occurred to us to make Hard Cider before. Which, in retrospect, seems like a GINORMOUS oversight on our part, considering how frequently I end up buying a six pack of Hornsby (or similar). Not that I’m a lush – but you know, buying by the six pack isn’t exactly cost effective. So one thing led to another and we ended up at our local brew shop – and we walked out with two vials of yeast, hops, malt extracts and who knows what else. One vial for Mr. Man to make in to an IPA, and one vial to make Hard Cider.
So when we got home, we started the Hard Cider – and then realized that we still had Apple Mead from the year before to rack. Kind of an ‘Oh yeah!” moment. So we started to sterilize some bottles and get things moving on that while I was making dinner, and then after dinner I went out to the garage and made the cider. Which was super easy! I simply poured brown sugar, apple juice and yeast in to a Carboy and ta-da! We have Cider started. Mr. Man helped – a little. I mean, he only sterilized and washed all the brewing equipment, got everything set up for me, told me how and what to do and when to do it, transported everything around, and shook the carboy up. Thats all. But I made the Cider.
Anyways, by the time that was all done, we checked on the dishwasher and found that the load was done, so we started to get ready to rack the Mead. Atleast – we were going to, until Mr. Man asks “Oh, did you use Soap on those bottles?” Because apparently, you aren’t supposed to use soap to wash them because it leaves behind a residue. A little tidbit he could have shared with me beforehand. So we decided to wait until Monday to rack, and run the load again. And have a celebratory glass of Apple Mead. That turned in to several celebratory beers. Anyhow, long story short – the next night we bottled and now have fifty-two fifty bottles of Mead, and then tonight Mr. Man started his IPA. So in a few weeks, we’ll have some homemade Hard Cider, home brewed Beer and the Apple Mead. Yay!
The night that We, I mean I, made cider was the same night we had this stew. It was a great night for it – we had lots of other things going on, and cooking beans is such a background process that you don’t really have to fuss with very much. Aside from the cooking time for the beans, this dish could really be thrown together in less than half an hour. For the majority of it, I was chopping and prepping one ingredient, while the one before it was cooking. It made life very easy. (Ie… while the bacon was cooking, I was chopping the leeks, while the leeks were cooking, I was mincing the garlic… etc…) Initially, I’d thought about adding arugula and maybe some carrots to this, since I had both sitting in the fridge, but then I saw this beautiful Savoy Cabbage that I received in my most recent FFTY box and just knew I wanted to do something with it. I also had the last couple of late season tomatoes that I’d picked up a week or two ago at the Farmer’s Market that I needed to do something with, so I tossed them in to the pot as well.
It turned out far better than I could have imagined. I don’t know what I was doing wrong all these years before, but I have developed an amazing love affair with beans the last month. Every pot of beans I’ve made lately has just been golden – and this dish was no exception. The Savoy and the Cannellini’s just worked so well together. Now, before anyone asks – yes, of course you can probably use canned beans. However – that said, I don’t recommend it. The cooking liquid for the beans was what made up the liquid of the stew, and it was amazing. I’m just not sure that you can get the same flavor from canned beans. So you know… be warned and all that jazz. If it makes any difference, I’m sure you could make the beans up several days before hand, and then just heat them up the day you wanted to serve them. For the tomatoes though – since I know not everyone is blessed to have fresh tomatoes when hovering around the beginning of November – In your shoes, I would absolutely throw in some canned, stewed, tomatoes. Chop ‘em up and toss them in. Heck, add the juice from the tomatoes as well, cuz that’s what I would do.
Actually – if we’re being fair here… There probably isn’t much you couldn’t change out if you wanted. The cannellini’s are so mild and easy to work with, that I think they might just become my like, favorite bean ever. Of course, I’m pretty sure I said that to Mr. Man about the last batch of beans I made, too – so, you know… I mean, I can’t help it – I’m enthused about beans! (And there’s a sentence I never saw myself saying before). I never really saw myself as getting excited about beans – but lately I have been. I see a new variety or idea for them, and I’m all “NEAT! Wonder how I can work them in!”
- 1 lb Dried Cannellini Beans; rinsed, picked over, and soaked overnight
- 1 head Savoy Cabbage; quartered and chopped in to fine shreds
- 1 small fennel bulb; cut in to thin slivers
- 3 lbs fresh tomatoes (about 3 cups); diced (or appx 1 quart canned tomatoes)
- 2 leeks; whites and light green area only; thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic; minced
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 quart of Scrap Stock (or other Broth)
- 8 oz Back Bacon
- 2 tbs Olive Oil
- 1 tbs White Wine
- 1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
- Kosher Salt
- Pour the Stock and the drained and soaked beans in to a dutch oven with a tight fitting lid
- Add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat until a gentle simmer is reached
- Cover and simmer until beans begin to soften
- Add the Sprig of rosemary and some Kosher Salt, then simmer until beans are tender (cooking times may vary depending on age of beans, length of soak etc…)
- Remove the Rosemary Sprig, Reduce heat and keep warm while preparing other ingredients
- In a large skillet; brown the bacon.
- When the bacon is done, remove from pan and set aside to drain
- Add the leeks to the pan and fry in the bacon drippings
- When the leeks are tender and beginning to turn golden, add the garlic
- Cook the leeks and garlic until the garlic is aromatic
- Add the White Wine to the Leeks and garlic and deglaze any remaining bacon bits
- Add the Leeks and garlic to the Cannellini Beans and return skillet to heat
- Add 1/2 a tbs of Olive Oil to the skillet and then add the fennel
- Saute until fennel is tender and aromatic then transfer to the cannellini beans
- Add remaining Olive Oil to the skillet, and saute the cabbage until golden and tender (can do in two batches if neccessary)
- Add the cabbage to the beans and bring to a simmer
- Chop the reserved bacon in to fine bits
- Stir in the tomatoes and cook until heated through
- Add the Cider Vinegar and Kosher Salt (to taste)
- To serve, top with crumbled Bacon Bits