Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pepperoni-Buttermilk and Cooking Beans

We like to eat fresh beans that are cooked until they are super soft and tender. We were first introduced to the idea of “overcooked” beans by Marco Canora. He showed us how to braise romano, wax, and runner beans in a blond soffrito with tomatoes and aromatics. The slow cooking process and what it did for the beans was revelatory. The memory continues to inspire us. We found lima beans at the Doylestown farmers market. I wanted to braise them. But I was not in the mood for tomatoes and onions. I like the idea of creamed corn and creamed spinach, so creamed lima beans were an easy leap. Except cooking in cream didn’t excite me. I am still smitten with buttermilk. So we looked at our bullet proof beurre monte as the base. We like to pair meat and beans together and everyone knows pepperoni is another fetish of mine so we added it to the mix. We used our blend of gum Arabic and xanthan gums to keep the mixture heat stable. Then we added the beans and simmered them over low heat for over an hour. The buttermilk briefly curdled and then came back together. The mixture thickened as the water evaporated from the pot. We did not peel the second skin from the lima beans. Instead we let gentle heat break them down. The end result was a stew of creamy lima beans flavored with pepperoni. The beans were fresh and flavorful. They easily held their own against the pepperoni. Everything came together beautifully. We ate them straight from the pot with a couple of spoons.

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