Escarole and bean stew recipe image

Print Escarole and bean stew

Don't be afraid of these unusual bitter, frizzy leaves – they're sweet and tender when cooked down. They can be braised on their own as a side dish or made into this comforting Tuscan soup. Eat with crusty bread to catch the juices.

Ingredients

  • 300g dried white beans, such as haricot or cannelloni, soaked in cold water overnight & then drained
  • 1 head garlic, cut horizontally in half
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 heads of escarole, chopped
  • Olive oil, to serve
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Place the drained beans in a large pan with the garlic, chilli and rosemary, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 1 hour, adding more water if necessary so that the beans are always just covered.
  2. When the beans are tender, season well with salt and pepper and mix in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Leave to cool, then squeeze the garlic out into the beans, removing the skins.
  3. In a large pan, fry the onion and crushed garlic clove in the remaining olive oil for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chopped escarole, mix well, then cover and cook for 5 minutes until the escarole has wilted. Stir in the beans and their cooking liquid and heat through.
  4. Remove 2 cupfuls of the mixture and blend in a food processor, then stir back into the mixture in the pan. Add some water if necessary to adjust the consistency and season well. Serve drizzled with olive oil.
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