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White Bean and Carrot Purée

I decided to make this properly, using dried beans rather than canned ones. If using canned, cannellini beans would work particularly well for this. I had soldier beans and rehydrated them, having a warm bowlful for lunch with ham, before puréeing them with the carrots. The beans seemed appropriately seasonal -- their markings supposedly look like toy soldiers from the Nutcracker, hence their name.

1 cup dried white beans or 2 cans cooked

3 carrots

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 Tbsps butter

2 sprigs rosemary

2 cloves garlic, peeled

a bay leaf

Salt to taste

The night before you plan on making this, put the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water up to about an inch above the surface of the beans. Contrary to culinary legend, I salt the water. It has been scientifically proven that this does not affect the texture of the beans as previously believed, but that the salt is drawn in through the shell of the beans, seasoning them properly.

The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Place them in a large stockpot along with the bay leaf, rosemary, and garlic. Turn the heat on low and cover. Cook for between an hour and an hour and a half, checking at the hour mark. You want creamy beans with no bite but not mushy beans.

When the beans have been cooking for 45 minutes, add the carrots, cut into chunks to the water. If using canned beans, add the bay, rosemary and the garlic to the carrot cooking water and cook for about twenty minutes.

When the beans are cooked through and the carrots tender, reserve one cup of the cooking liquid and then drain.

Place the now empty pot on the stove and melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the bean/carrot mixture back into the pan, fishing out the rosemary and bay leaf as you do. Leave any individual rosemary leaves that have separated from the main sprigs.

Using an immersion blender, blend well, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid until you get the consistency of purée that you prefer.

Check for seasoning and serve as a side for pork chops or a pork roast. I used this dish as a side for pork medallions that I had slathered in mustard and rolled in cep powder, topped with mixed mushrooms cooked in butter with garlic and vermouth.


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