Rustic Yellow Eye Bean Stew

A month ago, when I was in Napa Valley, I went to a restaurant called Ubuntu. It is a fantastic, vegetarian, Michelin-star restaurant in the heart of Napa. Ubuntu changes its menu daily and grows 90 percent of its own food. I had some amazing dishes there, but the best in my opinion was the Rustic Yellow Eye Bean Stew. So today I thought I would try to replicate that Michelin Dish. It is a complex dish, so don’t feel obligated to try it at home.

Tomato Rosemary broth
2 onions, quartered, skin on
3 carrots, quartered
2 sprigs of celery, quartered
2 bay leaves
6 crushed peppercorns
6 sprigs of rosemary
2 Chiles de Arbol
8 cups of water
2 1/2 pound tomatoes

Start by getting out all of your ingredients. It makes life easier. Quarter your onions, carrots, and celery. Add them to a heated pot. Brown the veggies for about five minutes. You will smell their aroma. At this point, add the water, crushed black peppercorns, chiles, and bay leaves. Once the stock has been cooking for about ten minutes, add the tomatoes. Since the tomatoes are being used in a stock, don’t go out and buy the pretty ones. In fact, I ask my farm purveyor for the seconds. I usually get the seconds for $2 a pound, a great price when you buy 5 or 10 pounds. Don’t bother taking out the stem end. Just quarter the tomatoes, put them in a bowl, cover with a little salt so they start giving out their juices, and then crush them with your hand. Now pour the juice and tomatoes into the stock. Cook the stock for another 30 minutes. When you believe that the stock is ready, taste it and adjust the seasoning.

Beans and Stew
1 onion
2 carrots
1 sprig of celery
1 pound beans, soaked overnight
2 bunches of kale
1 tbsp thyme
1/2 tablespoon chili flakes
2 1/2 pounds of tomatoes
Eggs

Very thinly dice the onion, carrots, and celery. Put them in a pot with one pound of beans and 8 cups of water. My yellow eye beans from Rancho Gordo took 50 minutes to cook, but beans found in supermarkets will take about an hour and a half to cook. While the beans are cooking, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Then take the stems out of your (second) tomatoes, cut them into eighths, and put them on a sheet tray with olive oil, thyme, and salt. Put them in the oven until they start to caramelize, about 15 minutes.  While the beans are cooking and the tomatoes are in the oven, sautée the kale with some olive oil and chili flakes. Once the kale is sautéed, chop it up. By this time, the beans should be done or nearly done. Drain the bean liquid and replace it with the tomato rosemary stock. Add the kale to the beans and cook for 5 minutes to make sure the kale is not crunchy. Now start to fry your eggs. I like to fry mine on an all-clad pan. I like to season my pan with butter to ensure that the eggs do not stick. You can use olive oil, but it takes four times as much olive oil as butter. Heat the pan and put on about a teaspoon of butter. Spread the butter around. Once it starts to sizzle, turn the pan down and put your eggs on. Cook the eggs for about 2 1/2 minutes. The whites should harden but the yolk should be runny and soft. When the eggs are done, turn off the pan. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve the stew in a bowl with the egg on top. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. It goes a long way!

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