Perfect party pleaser. Looking for something healthy, yet tasty, to serve your guests or bring to a party? The secret behind this creamy and complex tasting bean dip is to pair a starchy bean with a lighter legume or vegetable. By using a combination, you avoid the pastiness of dips that use only beans. To further freshen the dips, add creamy Greek-style yogurt, a healthy dose of lemon juice, and a full ¼ cup of herbs.
1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1 15-oz. can navy beans, 2 Tbsp. liquid reserved, beans rinsed
1 scallion, white and light-green parts cut into 1/2-inch pieces, green part sliced thin on bias
¼ cup fresh parsley
¼ tsp. ground fennel seeds
Pinch cayenne pepper
¼ cup plain Greek-style yogurt
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Combine garlic and lemon zest and juice in small bowl; set aside for at least 15 minutes. Measure out 2 tablespoons artichoke hearts, chop coarsely, and set aside for garnish.
Pulse beans, reserved bean liquid, remaining artichoke hearts, scallion whites and light greens, parsley, ground fennel, ¾ teaspoon salt, cayenne, and lemon juice mixture in food processor until fully ground, 5 to 10 pulses. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula.
Continue to process until uniform paste forms, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl twice. Add yogurt and continue to process until smooth and homogeneous, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. (Dip can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Let refrigerated dip stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.)
Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with reserved artichoke hearts and scallion greens. Drizzle with oil and serve.
In cooler weather months, The Hubs likes to make weekly pots of soup, perfect for lunches, or evenings when we don’t feel like cooking. In this instance, he took stock of what we had lurking in the refrigerator and pantry and devised a recipe based on a previous Tuscan-inspired soup as a general template.
In addition to green bell peppers, we also needed to use up some hatch peppers, jalapeños, and some little red peppers that were gifted to us. We had all of the rest of the ingredients on hand too. A slice of homemade, whole-grain focaccia toast with a schmear of roasted garlic paste rounded out the meal.
Keep in mind that you need to soak the beans overnight in salted water, to soften the skins. Add the tomatoes toward the end of cooking, since their acid keeps the beans from becoming too soft.
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 1-lb. ham hock
1 large onion, chopped medium
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 jalapeños, small chop
3 green bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups ham or chicken broth, preferably homemade
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. Cajun spice
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh marjoram
Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onion, celery, jalapeños, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes.
Stir in garlic, Cajun spice and smoked paprika and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove pot from oven and stir in tomatoes. Cover pot, return to oven, and continue to cook until beans are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
Remove pot from oven and submerge marjoram sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
Remove the ham hock, stripping it of any usable meat to throw back into the soup. Discard bay leaves and marjoram sprig and season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil.
Recently a foodie friend posted pictures of this recipe on her FB feed, and I knew I had to try it—thanks Deb! She informed me it’s from “Mostly Plants” by Tracy Pollan, an Emmy award-nominated actress who has enjoyed a successful career in television, film, and on the Broadway stage—and is the wife of Michael J. Fox.
In October 2014, Pollan, along with her two sisters and mother, co-authored the multiple award winning The Pollan Family Table, a cookbook of family recipes, kitchen tips and cooking techniques. Based on the outcome of this dish, I’m curious to try some more from the Pollan family…
If you’ve ever had chicken or veal piccata, you are familiar with the flavor components of tangy lemon, briny capers and aromatic garlic all combined together in a silken butter sauce. Paired with spinach with its range of valuable vitamins and minerals, and navy beans with their high nutritive value and protein content, you got one healthy meal here!
Our changes: Instead of four skinless fillets, we cooked the skin-on salmon whole which required a few minutes longer on each side. In lieu of canned navy beans, which the grocery store didn’t have, we used Great Northern. And there was a lot of liquid in the sauce so the cooking time was nearly doubled to reduce it enough before adding the butter.
In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Slowly add the spinach and cook, stirring until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the beans and season with salt and pepper, mix until combined. Cook until the beans are warm, about 2 minutes; remove from heat.
In a separate large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the grapeseed oil until shimmering. Gently add the fillets and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until light golden brown. Transfer fillets to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add the shallots to the hot skillet and cook, stirring until translucent, about 1 minute.
Add the broth, wine, lemon juice and capers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the butter, and when melted, add 2 tablespoons of parsley and stir.
Distribute the sautéed spinach and beans on a serving platter (or divided amongst 4 individual plates). Top with the salmon fillets and spoon the sauce over the fish.
Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and top with lemon slices. Serve hot.
Super flavorful and hearty, you’ll be wanting more of this soup after just one spoonful. The key to its success is homemade ham broth, not something most home cooks have readily available, but Russ gives you step-by-step directions below. That being said, the ham broth is essential. If you don’t have any, it becomes an altogether different soup, both in taste and process.
It is a huge time commitment, so pick a day where you have a large chunk of it to work with. And if you also need to make ham stock, do that a day or two (or week) ahead of time.
This is a good recipe to use after a large ham dinner such as at Easter, or some other family gathering or pot luck party.
1 lb. dried navy beans, soaked in 4 quarts of water with 3 tablespoons of salt for 8-24 hours
4 thick slices bacon, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ham bone
2 1/2 -3 cups ham, shredded or diced
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
8 cups ham broth (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. pimentón dulce (smoked paprika)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Rinse beans under cool water and remove any small stones or debris. Add 4 quarts water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a large pot and stir until salt is dissolved. Add the rinsed beans and soak at least and up to 24 hours.
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add the diced bacon, and cook until bacon has released its fat and is fully cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Sauté the vegetables until the onions begin to soften. Drain and rinse the soaked beans and add to the pot, then add the bay leaf, ham bone, and ham broth*. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a simmer (be careful not to boil it to avoid bursting the beans), then lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Once beans are tender, stir in the ham and cooked bacon and continue to simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme branches. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the pimentón and parsley. Serve.
*Note: If you don’t have pre-made ham stock, you can make your own easily following the instructions below.
2 lbs. smoked ham hocks or smoked pork necks or a mix, lightly rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed (no need to peel it)
1 large stalk celery with leaves, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, scrubbed and roughly chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns
1 tsp. salt
4 quarts water
Heat the oil in a large soup or stock pot over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot and sauté them until they are caramelized. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pot, and boil until the wine is reduced by half.
Add the ham hocks and/or smoked pork necks and the remaining ingredients, including the water, and bring the pot to a simmer over high heat. Immediately lower the heat to medium-low or low and continue to simmer the stock, uncovered, until it reduces by a half, skimming any foam or scum that rises to the surface (about 2–4 hours). Do not stir the stock while it simmers.
Strain the stock through a colander into another large pot or container. When the solids have cooled enough to handle, you can pick the meat off the shank and/or neck bones and reserve for the soup. At this point, you can proceed with the Ham and Bean Soup recipe above.