Tiny French flageolet beans have a delicate, mild flavor and make a wonderful gratin. For more flavorful beans, let them sit in their broth overnight and bake the gratin the following day.
- For the Beans:
- 1 pound dried flageolet beans
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoon salt
- For the Gratin:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil or rendered duck fat, or a combination, divided
- 2 large onions, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound French-style garlic sausage or sweet Italian sausage
- 2 cups homemade bread crumbs
- Homemade or low-salt canned chicken stock if needed
FOR THE BEANS: Pick over the beans. Soak if desired and drain. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cover the beans with 8 cups cold water. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, sage and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Simmer gently until the beans have softened, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the salt and continue cooking until the beans are quite tender, 20-30 minutes longer. Allow the beans to cool in the broth. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld.
FOR THE GRATIN: Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the garlic and any stems from the herbs.
In a frying pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the thyme, sage and garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the beans with the onion mixture. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. The mixture should be highly seasoned. Transfer the beans to a shallow 2 1/2-quart casserole.
In a hot frying pan, brown the sausages well on all sides. Let the sausages cool before cutting them into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the sliced sausages over the beans, then push them down beneath the surface of the beans with a wooden spoon.
Bring the reserved cooking liquid to a boil and pour enough of it into the casserole to barely cover the beans (add chicken stock if there isn’t enough). Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and, with a wooden spoon, push them down a bit to absorb some of the liquid. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the top. Cover with aluminum foil, set the pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and continue cooking for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the surface is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 15 minutes longer.
Recipe reprinted by permission of <I>Fine Cooking<. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
495 calories; 26g total fat; 30mg cholesterol; 1447mg sodium; 50g carbohydrates; 6g fiber; 16g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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