The inspiration for this dish came from several places. The first place was epicurious.com, my go to place for recipes. I was browsing white bean recipes and found this Tuscan Bean dish that sounded delicious (a whole head of garlic! Yum!) I also adore sage, but only go buy it when I can find it on sale. After a thorough scouring of Tesco this past weekend, no fresh sage for sale was in sight. I did, however, find parsnips for sale at Tesco...I decided to buy a kilogram, because well, it was only 20 crowns (91 cents).
So then I was browsing epicurious again, looking for parsnip based recipes. I had completely forgotten about the white beans, because they were dried, and it wasn't necessary that I use them up immediately. I came across this white bean and parsnip stew that actually had very low ratings and less than stellar reviews. What I got from reviews from both recipes was:
a) too watery
b) not enough flavor
c) bit too much garlic
Finally, (I said several places!!) I had a delicious white bean and tomato stew with a mashed potato crust at Bumpkin restaurant when I visited London 2 weekends ago.
So off I went to create my parsnip and bean dish. And make it healthy.
I started off by rinsing the beans and putting them in a large pot. I would say I used about 1 1/2 cups of beans (375 g) I basically made sure that there was a layer of beans at the bottom of the pot. No pot bottom visible. I'll list the rest of it the traditional way:
Half a head of garlic cloves, peeled and minced (I started with 4 cloves, then added more according to taste)
1 bay leaf
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into rounds/cubes about 1/2 inch thick (1.5 cm)
1 small white onion OR about 1 cup (250 g) of leek greens (Not the darkest parts, the medium to light green parts)
Use the leek greens if you want a more colorful stew
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 generous tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 generous tablespoon salt or Podravka
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
Put the beans, half the garlic, bay leaf and beans in the pot
Fill the pot with water (about 2 litres / 8 cups)
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer beans for about an hour and a half (I went shopping whilst they simmered)
When you get back (or while you're still home) prepare the parsnips and onions or leeks
Add in the parsnips, leek, the rest of the garlic, and the seasonings
Simmer vigorously until parsnip has softened.
Spoon some of the beans, parsnips, and liquid into a blender/food processor
Process until thick and creamy (If you catch some leek, that's fine too, but your stew will have a bit of a greenish tinge)
Stir it back into the stew.
If it's not thick enough for your liking, process some more beans and parsnips
Adjust seasonings to taste (I think I went quite heavy on the salt. But that's just how I like it)
stir in the tomatoes and cook until soft.
Serve with some yummy bread (I prefer Czech dark Sumavske bread. When it's fresh it's as soft as a piece of cake)
PS, notice how there is no butter or oil in this one? It STILL tastes delicious!! Feel free to add in a splash of oil/butter/whatever if you want a bit more richness.