Friday, February 17, 2012

Arikara Almond Bean Spread

This humble bean spread sustained me for a full week of lunches. It was an experiment, and a successful one. I wanted to make something like humus with the last of my stash of Arikara heirloom beans from Lonesome Whistle Farm, but I wanted to explore different culinary terrain.

So instead of sesame seeds, I substitute toasted almonds.

Rather than garlic, I used leeks slowly sauteed in olive oil, into which I stirred my soft cooked beans. Then, because this dish seemed to be journeying from the eastern Mediterranean toward the Iberian Peninsula, I finish off the pureed paste with a splash of sherry vinegar and a dusting of smoked paprika. The final dish tasted almost like pâté, rich and flavorful, with a hint of sherry. It made a nice dip for raw vegetables and a great lunch spread on fresh bread accompanied by fruity salads. 

Arikara Almond Bean Spread

1 cup Arikara beans (or substitute white kidney beans)
several sprigs of thyme
3 1/2 cups water
1 large or 2 medium leeks
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup whole almonds
2 tsp sherry vinegar
smoked paprika for garnish

1. Rinse the Arikara beans and cook them on very low heat with about 3 1/2 cups of water, the thyme sprigs and a pinch of water until very soft, about four hours. Add more water during the cooking process if necessary and when the beans are done, add more salt to taste. 

2. Remove the root and green stem from the leek, slice lengthwise, and wash thoroughly. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat, add the olive oil, and saute the leeks for about 10 minutes, until they are very soft, but avoid browning them. Add the cooked beans and their cooking liquid and simmer with the leeks to meld the flavors and reduce the broth. The final mixture should have about about a half cup of syrupy liquid remaining. 

3. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry skillet until fragrant. Transfer them to a food processor and pulverize into a fine meal. Add the leeks and beans and process for several minutes until smooth. Add the sherry vinegar and pulse. Taste and add more salt if necessary. 

4. Transfer to a bowl and dust with smoked paprika. Serve with fresh vegetables or crusty bread. 

Other recipes for locally grown beans
Barley and Cranberry Bean Soup with Kale
Bruna Bönor
Cranberry Beans and Collard Greens
Paprkia Chickpea, Delicata and Kale Salad
Pumpkin and Rio Zape Bean Soup
Vegetarian Bean Chili
Black Beans and Huevos Rancheros
Falafel and Grilled Zucchini
Lentil Caviar Salad with Poached Eggs
Coffee Braised Lamb Shanks and Arikara beans
Green Flageolet Bean and Tuna Salad
Creamy Green Flageolet Beans
Dutch Bullet Bean Soup with Indian spices
Arikara Beans with Tomatillo Pork
Ireland Creek Annie Baked Beans
Flageolet Bean Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Tapenade
Arikara Beans with Roasted Fennel and Peppers
Jacob's Cattle Bean and Ham Stew
Calypso Beans with Ginger and Black Mustard Seeds
Ireland Creek Annie bean bruschetta
Lemon and Herb Dutch Bullet Beans
Minty Green Flageolet Beans
Dutch Bullet Beans and Roasted Squash Soup
Rio Zape Beans with Toasted Chile Sauce
Arikara Bean Gratin
Calypso Bean and Leek Soup

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