Recipe: Countryside Beans with Mushrooms
During my time as an everyday, sometimes junk food vegan, I had many favorite recipes. Some of these I am able to continue using in my whole-food, plant-based diet with some modifications, with no loss in deliciousness. This recipe is a favorite in the Alexander’s kitchen. I derived the flavors in this dish from a recipe found in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ excellent Veganomicon. My version is simplified and oil-free. I usually use whatever beans I have ready, and sometimes that is a mix of beans, which makes this dish look more interesting. Rich with the flavor of mushrooms and tarragon, Countryside Beans are creamy and wonderful as part of a bowl, served atop a pile of steamed greens, or just on their own.
Makes 6 to 10 servings, and is good in the refrigerator for a week.
- 1 lb white beans (or any beans), cooked OR 3 15-oz cans beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced into thin disks (about 4 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced OR 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 to 3 lbs mushrooms – crimini or white button, or a mix of mushrooms
- Optional: about 1/4 cup dried mushrooms, any variety
- 2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or 2 teaspoons soy sauce plus two tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- water or vegetable broth for sauteeing
Cook the beans in whichever way that you prefer: pressure cooker, bean pot in the oven, stove top, or just open some cans. If you are cooking the beans, it is fine to do this a day or more in advance. If you use canned beans, rinse and drain them. Preferentially, choose no-salt-added beans in BPA-free cans. Set the beans aside.
Slice the leeks. Trim the root end off, then just slice them into disks or coins. As you get up into the tougher green parts, peel off and discard out layers until you get to more tender parts. Use as much of the leeks as is tender. Place the slices into a colander or salad spinner, and rinse them, mixing them up with your hands until you get rid of any residual dirt. Leeks can have quite a lot of dirt inside, and this will make your beans gritty if you don’t get them clean enough.
Add the leeks to a deep, thick-bottomed soup pot and heat over a medium-low flame. Once the leeks begin to sizzle, stir and scrape frequently until they begin to soften. If they begin to stick, add a few tablespoons of vegetable broth or water and scrape, and they will release. Once the leeks begin to soften, add the garlic and mushrooms and re-hydrated dried mushrooms if you are using them. Sprinkle with the Bragg Liquid Aminos and saute as the mushrooms release their liquid.
Once the mushrooms are thoroughly softened and have lost their liquid, stir in the thyme and tarragon. These really are critical to the flavor of this dish. Once the herbs are warmed, mix in the beans. The mixture should be quite wet at this point, from the mushroom liquid. Continue to heat over a low setting until the liquid thickens and becomes creamy. Let’s eat!