Tasso And White Bean Gratin

This bean recipe sounds too good not to share. (Thank you Rancho Gordo for putting it where I could find it.) I’ve had beans on the brain today as I searched for fast and easy healthy recipes. Earlier I found a wonderful one for marinated white beans perfect for antipasto. (More on that later.)

This recipe though, is especially wonderful because of the chicken soup. In my world, that means nutrient dense, body healing, bone strengthening, bone broth. It would be a simple matter to make it dairy free and gluten free, is so desired, by substituting 2 ingredients. Gluten free panko bread crumbs are fairly easy to find, as is non-dairy Parmesan.  Put that all together and this recipe deserves an A++ for nutritional value.

Tasso and White Bean Gratin
from Down South by Donald Link (© Clarkson Potter)
Serves 8 to 10
3 cups dried white beans, like Royal Corona or Cassoulet
¼ pound tasso, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
1  teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil

Soak the beans overnight in enough water to cover them by at least 3 inches. Rinse and drain well.
In a large skillet, render the tasso in the butter over medium-high heat until just crispy. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, until they start to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaves, chicken broth, and white beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the broth simmers gently.

Cook the beans until they are completely tender, 35 to 45 minutes. This time will vary with the age of the dried beans. Season with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper.
While the beans finish cooking, heat the oven to 450F.

Meanwhile, mix the panko with the parsley, cheese, olive oil, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Pour the cooked beans into a 9x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the beans and bake until the crumbs are golden brown, about 15 minutes.