Wednesday, January 08, 2014

White Bean Ragout with Polenta

A hearty vegetarian stew served over creamy polenta is the perfect way to warm up these cold winter nights.


Thatbaby is a typical toddler with his eating habits.  He is perverse in his delight of a food one day and the complete refusal of it the next.

Luckily for us, this hasn't seemed to apply to beans.

Beans which he will pick out of soups.

Or stuffed peppers.

Or the bowl where I have them sitting waiting to be used in a recipe.

In keeping with my philosophy of not stressing about whether Thatbaby eats every meal put in front of him, I try to offer one bean-containing meal a week.  It's a surefire way to ensure one dinner gets eaten.

Personally I like the inclusion of these vegetarian meals.  There's something very healthy feeling about them, like a cleanse for the system.  A lot of vegetarian fare gets a bad rap - "rabbit food" as my father used to call it.  And the lightness of it can often seem more fitting for summer than winter.  But eliminating meat from a meal doesn't have to make it less than satiating.  A thick ragout, simmered on the stovetop is just as filling when it contains beans instead of beef.  And while this dish could benefit from summer tomatoes, it loses nothing by the inclusion of the canned variety.


White Bean Ragout with Polenta
1 cup polenta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 sprig parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can cannellini beans

  1. Bring 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan.  
  2. Add polenta in a slow steady stream  and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.  Cover and cook for 10 .minutes. Uncover and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Uncover and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Uncover and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. While polenta is cooking, in a separate pan heat the olive oil.  Add the parsley and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the sage and tomatoes and cook for 12 minutes.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste, then add the beans.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve the beans over the polenta. 
  7. cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and cook 5 minutes; uncover and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve polenta with bean mixture.

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