Ah, December. Sure, it's crunch time at school, with mid-marking progress reports due, and midterm exams just around the corner. Sure, we should be cleaning and decorating and buying presents and boosting the economy and all that. But what we love most about December is, of course, all about the food. It's about the cookie swapping, Chex mix eating, candy making, soup stewing, meat braising, and last week, beans simmering.
For last week's Meatless Monday, we came up with a simple white bean dish perfect for wintry weeknights. Since it's Monday again, we figured we'd share. Hearty and filling, these beans are packed with herbacious flavor from the wonderful spice blend that is herbes de Provence. Since our New England garden has been laid waste by the weather, we use this particular version of the traditional dried blend which includes garlic, lavender, a variety of other herbs and spices, lemon peel and sea salt. Add some vegetable broth to make it a stew, or serve it over rice for a more filling meal. We liked it the way it is here, served with a crusty French baguette.
White Beans Provençal
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons (or to taste) herbes de Provence
2 large (1 pound, 13 ounce) cans cannellini beans
2 bay leaves
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 cup hot water
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion starts to become translucent. Sprinkle with herbs de Provence and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes. Add white beans and bay leaves and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Add 1/4 cup hot water (or more, to desired consistency) and cook over medium heat for about an hour. Drizzle with additional olive oil before serving.