Gratin of white beans

Gratin of white beans

By
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How I cook
Serves
6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

The pairing of roast meat with little dried or fresh beans works well and makes a pleasant change from potatoes – pale green flageolet beans with lamb is a lovely French example. You just need to remember to put the beans to soak the evening before. Conveniently, you can assemble this dish well in advance – ready to pop into the oven half an hour before you wish to eat.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
400g cannellini or other small dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water
500ml double cream or crème fraîche
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
bunch thyme, leaves only
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
100g parmesan, freshly grated
40g unsalted butter, melted

Method

  1. Drain the beans, tip into a medium saucepan and pour on enough fresh water to come 2–3cm above the beans. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then immediately turn down the heat. Simmer until the beans are tender but not falling apart; this will take approximately an hour depending on how long the beans have been stored; begin checking after 50 minutes or so. If necessary, top up the water during cooking to keep the beans covered.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Once the beans are tender, drain them in a colander and then tip into a bowl. Pour over the cream or crème fraîche and scatter over the crushed garlic and thyme leaves. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix together well. Transfer to a medium ovenproof dish.
  3. For the topping, in a clean bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan together lightly, using your fingers.
  4. Scatter the topping over the beans and then trickle over the melted butter. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

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