Cannellini beans have an excellent earthy flavor and work well served with roast meats as well as hearty sauces. They can also make an excellent vegetarian main course. Their intense flavor helps make up for their higher cost. I usually wait until they go on sale and then bulk up. A half pound will serve about four as a side.
This recipe uses turnip greens, but they can be substituted with spinach. Just add the raw spinach at the last moment before straining. Cannellini beans are very thick skinned and take a long time to soak, at least overnight. A ham hock could also be added at the start if this were to be a main course.
Cannellini Beans with Turnip Greens
- 1 lb cannellini beans
- 1 bunch turnip greens
- 2 leeks
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 lemon (zested, juice reserved)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Olive oil
Wash and soak beans in cold water overnight. Wash turnip greens, discard the stems and ribs, and chop roughly. Finely dice the white parts of the leeks. Chop the green parts of the leeks, slightly larger. Heat two tablespoons butter in a large stock pot and saute the white parts of the leeks until softened. Add turnip greens and saute until wilted. Strain beans, discarding soaking liquid, and add to pot. Season with oregano, salt and pepper. Add stock, green part of the leeks and zest entire lemon into pot. Bring to a boil then simmer on medium low until beans are soft adding more stock or water to keep the liquid level up, about 1 ½ hours. Strain beans reserving a cup of cooking liquid. Season beans with parsley, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix well. Add lemon juice, olive oil and reserved cooking liquid to taste. Serve hot.