This is a hoppin john meets cassoulet. I made it originally with an heirloom variety of bean called Arikara, but it also works well with black eyed peas. The beans are cooked in the oven with a sun dried tomato-infused broth, and then finished under the broiler with a tomatoey, basil breadcrumb topping. —Fairmount_market
Soak the beans for a few hours to overnight in plenty of water.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat the vegetable broth and add the sun-dried tomatoes to soak. When the tomatoes are soft (after about 20 minutes), dice them.
In a Dutch oven, saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in olive oil until the onions are very soft and have started to caramelize.
Add the broth and sun-dried tomatoes to the pot. Drain the beans and add these to the pot. When they come up to a simmer, transfer the pot, uncovered, to the oven. Cook for about an hour, checking occasionally to test the beans for tenderness and to make sure that there is still enough liquid in the pot.
When the beans are the desired tenderness, remove from the oven and check for seasoning, adding plenty of salt and more pepper to taste. Heat the broiler. Mix together the bread crumb topping and sprinkle this over the beans. Place the pot under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: fairmountmarket.blogspot.com. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.