Provencal French Beans
When I hear Provencal I immediately thing of Provence a region that includes the Rhone and Durance valleys – highly fertile agriculture areas which are considered to be the garden of France. Commonly enjoyed vegetables include tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, onions, lettuce, carrots, fennel, potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, zucchini, artichokes and asparagus. Beans are enjoyed in a wide variety of dishes including stews, soups such as soupe au pistou, a bean and vegetable soup infused with basil. Fresh and dried herbs are used extensively in Provencal cooking. A popular Provencal dried herb blend is called Herbes de Provence, and typically contains thyme, marjoram, savory, rosemary, sage and basil. These herbs, and others such as parsley, are used together or separately in a wide variety of dishes including stews, soups and salads or are simply rubbed over fish, chicken or meat before grilling.
French side dish recipes for traditional side dishes vary from grains to legumes to vegetables. While they are typically small in portion size, they are always big on flavor. Creamy white beans mixed with garlic and herbs from Provence make this purely French recipe of herbed beans Provencal perfect for any meat.
I recently saw Ina prepare Provencal French Beans and I was totally inspired to recreate this dish for Christmas Day dinner.
- 14 ounces dried Great Northern beans
- 1 quart homemade chicken stock or canned broth
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 1 cup medium-diced carrots (2 carrots)
- 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain the beans, place in a large saucepan with the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving the stock.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil, then add the onions, diced carrots, and celery, and cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Add the parsley, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and cook for 1 more minute. Add the beans and 2 cups of the cooking stock. (If you don’t have enough liquid, add additional stock or water to make 2 cups.) Cook for 15 minutes until the stock makes a little sauce, adding more stock if necessary. Finish with the Parmesan cheese. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley.
Absolutely wonderful. This is an amazing recipe. I used dried beans and cooking them in chicken stock is worth the effort. The fresh rosemary is a nice touch. I felt like I was eating this in Provence. Very easy to make and so flavorful. A nice pairing with Ina’s 4-hour lamb which I also made for Christmas dinner. When the leftover were in the refrigerator for a couple of days, the beans were even tastier.
Ciao for now!