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Cannellini Beans with Lemon, Roasted Red Peppers, and Bacon

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Serves 6 as a side

  • by Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking
    Issue 108

Smoky bacon, sweet roasted red pepper, and tangy lemon transform canned beans in this easy side dish. Serve with lamb chops or sausages.

  • 1 medium lemon, scrubbed
  • 2 oz. thick bacon (about 2 slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Two 15-1/2-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers, cut into small dice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Using a vegetable peeler, shave six 1-inch-wide strips of zest from the lemon (avoid the white pith). Cut the strips crosswise 1/4 inch wide. Juice half of the lemon and reserve the juice and zest separately.

In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon with 1 Tbs. of the oil, stirring occasionally, until it renders most of its fat and starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the rosemary, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, swirling the contents of the pan, until sizzling steadily and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the pan to medium heat and add the beans, chicken broth, roasted peppers, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth thickens and the flavors meld, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Season to taste with more lemon juice or salt. Serve drizzled with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and sprinkled with the bacon.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 200; Fat (g): 8; Fat Calories (kcal): 70; Saturated Fat (g): 1.5; Protein (g): 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Carbohydrates (g): 23; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 460; Cholesterol (mg): 5; Fiber (g): 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Very easy to make (especially if you're using canned beans) and full of flavor. It was a big hit in our house.

Followed recipe and loved it! So delicious. Only change was to use dried beans instead of canned. Soaked overnight and boiled with some rosemary and bay leaves.

This dish is amazing–tasty, quick to make, and super cheap. As a former vegan, I am always looking for a good, filling bean dish. Since bacon makes everything tastier-remember 'former' vegan-I usually make about 6 strips of it. I also majorly increased the amount of garlic (at least 1/2 a head) and probably doubled the amount of rosemary and lemon. This dish can serve as the main entree and easily fill one up.

I made a few changes to the recipe but my whole family really enjoyed this meal. I used 1/2# dried yellow eye beans that I cooked ahead and added a whole can low sodium broth to make the final dish a bit more soupy. Then I mashed some of the beans for a bit of texture and served this as a main dish (for 4) over whole grain elbow noodles with some homemade sprouted wheat bread. YUM! My kids really enjoyed it and so economical to boot.

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