Stewy White Beans with Escarole, Garlic, and Sizzled Rosemary

By Sarah Jampel
November 19, 2017
17 Comments


Author Notes: Adapted from cookbook writer Molly Stevens by way of Orangette's Molly Wizenberg, this recipe starts with bitter escarole that's wilted in garlic-, chile-, and rosemary-infused oil. Once the greens have shrunken, you'll add the beans, the broth, and a cheese rind, cover the pot, and let all of the ingredients bubble away gently together. The escarole will turn silky and the beans creamy, all while steeping in the spices, herbs, and alliums. In just a few minutes, you've changed the simplest pot of vegetables and legumes into an extremely comforting, outright addictive meal.Sarah Jampel

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head escarole, about 1 pound (or substitute curly kale or mustard greens)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large sprig rosemary, plus more for frying (optional)
  • 2 dried chiles de arbol (or substitute ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Salt, for seasoning
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • Rind of Parmesan, Grana Padano, or pecorino (optional)
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • Any of the above cheeses, for garnishing
  • Canola oil, for frying (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut the head of escarole in half lengthwise, then cut each length crosswise, into 1 1/2-inch strips. Place in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Use your hands to swish the leaves around, loosening up the dirt. Let the escarole sit undisturbed for 5 or so minutes so that the soot settles to the bottom. Lift the escarole out of the bowl, then repeat the washing process. (Escarole is very dirty—washing it twice is critical.) Don’t worry if the leaves are still a little wet. (If you’re using kale or mustard greens, clean and remove the center ribs. Then give the leaves a rough chop.)
  2. In a large Dutch oven with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat, Once hot, add the rosemary sprig and the chiles de arbol. Let sizzle for about 1 minute, then turn the heat to medium and add the garlic. Stir until it’s soft and golden on the edges.
  3. Add the escarole a handful at a time. Stir it and let it wilt before adding the next handful and season with salt as you throw in each new addition.
  4. When all the escarole has wilted, add the beans, the stock, and the cheese rind (if using), season with more salt, and stir to mix everything together.
  5. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover, lower the heat to maintain a slow simmer, and cook until the greens are tender and the liquid has thickened, about 20 minutes. (If you don’t want the dish to be soupy, you can remove the lid and simmer it for about 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced.)
  6. Before serving, season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with grated cheese and a swirl of olive oil. Serve over slices of toasted sourdough, polenta, or al dente ditalini.
  7. Optional: If you’d like to add a bit of flair, garnish with a fried rosemary sprig. Heat about an inch of canola oil in a high-sided pan. When it’s shimmering (about 375° F), add the rosemary sprigs. Fry for about 30 seconds, until crisp, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt while warm.

More Great Recipes:
Bean|One-Pot Wonders|Fall|Winter|Gluten-Free|Vegetarian|Entree

Reviews (17) Questions (1)

17 Comments

Ericka B. March 28, 2018
I fudged the recipe a bit by doubling the chicken broth, using about a 1/2 pound of dried white beans instead of canned and throwing everything in the pot all at once. While the substitution of the dried beans increased the stove top time (about 3 hours), this was DELICIOUS. A wonderful creamy texture with hints of rosemary and lemon throughout the broth.<br /><br />Next time I will have to follow the recipe and see if it turns out just as well!
 
Ericka B. March 28, 2018
Correction: I added 4x the amount of chicken broth and used a whole lemon that I quartered and threw into the pot with the rest of the ingredients.
 
E.R.M. March 18, 2018
Really delicious, with satisfying broth from the white bean liquid, vegetable stock, and oil. The chili arbol, parmesan rind, garlic, and lemon combine to create a great flavor. I couldn't find escarole at the supermarket so went with kale, and I actually can't imagine not doing it with kale in the future, but I'm sure it works well with escarole too.
 
Tawny March 10, 2018
Perfection! I know cheese makes everything better but even if I wasn't vegan, this doesn't even need cheese to make it so delicious! I served it over polenta. I cannot wait for the beans to pick up all the flavors for my meal tomorrow but, even 20 minutes after throwing together, the flavor tastes like it's been sitting and stewing for hours! I do use Better Than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base for my broth. My Whole Foods hasn't had escarole for years so I used baby spinach. And I used red pepper flakes. So delicious!!!
 
Lynn February 23, 2018
Wow, I made the recipe as written and it was amazing! But the version below with siracha powder and served over polenta sounds amazing! (More cheese is not a bad thing). Will give that one a try next time.
 
Deborah S. February 23, 2018
OMG this was So Good! I used kale out of the garden instead of escarole, siricha powder instead of the chiles, and cooked it a little longer (~45 min). I served it over polenta seasoned with rosemary and Parmesan, topped with a squirt of fresh lemon, Greek EV olive oil, and you guessed it--MORE CHEESE!! A perfect hearty warm comfort food for a cold winter night supper!!!<br />
 
Liz C. February 6, 2018
I just made this and I want to make it again tomorrow. There were no left overs for my lunch! I used kale. I don't think I've ever seen escarole. I fried and sliced up 2 Portuguese garlic sausage because my family would grumble if there was no meat. We ate the whole batch between 3 of us but I didn't serve it with any carbs. I added more broth than was called for because I had it then I gave it a few whizzes with the hand blender to thicken the liquid. I just realized that I forgot the lemon so now I have to make it again!
 
Emily L. February 4, 2018
This is a wonderfully easy and versatile recipe. I subbed baby kale for escarole (it’s all i could find at my grocery store) and added it in right before serving. I couldn’t find the chiles called for so subbed aleppo pepper- it turned out great and made wonderful leftovers. Will definitely be making again!
 
cookinalong February 4, 2018
OK. Let me be a grumpy old fart here for a minute. Can't we be grown ups and call it White Bean Stew? I mean really, "stewy"? Likewise, could we all just agree to say "vegetables" instead of veggies?<br />Now on to other matters...This dish is also great with broccoli rabe if escarole or kale are not at hand.
 
E.R.M. March 18, 2018
Haah, I agree. Cute, shortened words in food writing is my pet peeve. Veg is even worse than veggies, imo. But at least getting past that, the recipe is delicious.
 
Lynn February 4, 2018
Anybody tried Baby Bok Choy?
 
Becca (. January 31, 2018
OH man. I've made the Orangette version (with a variety of greens to different levels of success- the bitterness of the escarole really is perfect) a whole bunch of times, and this looks even better. Putting a Parmesan rind in is brilliant. I always end up adding a whole pile of Parmesan at the end but getting some of that goodness into the broth is inspired.
 
Clare G. January 15, 2018
This has become a staple recipe for me. I've added sausage to it to make it a bit heartier.
 
Jenny December 26, 2017
Just made this and am so excited to have this as a regular go-to this winter! Delish!
 
Esther December 20, 2017
This is delicious! I used kale instead of escarole and served it over creamy polenta. With a baby and a toddler at home, this will be one of our go-to easy recipes this winter.
 
Caroline L. December 18, 2017
i can't WAIT to make this.
 
cindy December 11, 2017
Delicious. Perfect Sunday night dinner. Lemon is key! <br />