Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calabrian White Bean Stew & Pan Sauteed Garlic Bread Cubes

CalabrianWhite Bean Stew is simple, delicious and very satisfying on many levels. Aromatic rosemary, pretty colors, a satisfyingly thick broth, and rustic crunchy homemade garlic infused croutons make this low calorie nutrient rich meal a mindful feast - wonderfully paired with a simple romaine and sweet red pepper salad.

Recipe: Calabrian White Bean Stew
Nutrition facts

Stew Ingredients:

3 cans white beans of your choice such as Cannellini or Great Northern – empty into a colander and rinse well to remove the sodium and the stuff from the can lining (unless you use Eden which has BPA free cans)
1 T pure olive oil
1 onion, rough chopped
3 large or several baby carrots, rough chopped (or as many carrots as you want if you love carrots stick a lot in there!)
4 fresh garlic cloves chopped (don't use the stuff in a jar unless you prefer mild flavor for garlic)
2 C chicken stock (or veggie stock so you can keep it vegetarian)
1 bay leaf
2 t dried rosemary
¼ t or more of freshly cracked black pepper (to taste, I like lots and used more like 1/2 a t!)
a shake or three or more of Tabasco Sauce
1 t extra virgin olive oil

Stew Directions:

In a small bowl, mash one cup of the rinsed and drained beans and set aside. It's always best to cook your own beans from dried beans - you can cook them whenever it is convenient and then just drain and freeze the beans for handy use anytime! If you do that, do not over cook the beans so they hold their beautiful shape.

Heat the pure olive oil in a large stew pot over medium high heat and sauté the onion and carrots approximately 8-10 minutes just until the carrots are crisp tender. If you added extra carrots, you may need a bit more olive oil. Add the garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, and black pepper and sauté another minute or two. Add the stock and the mashed beans stirring until the beans become incorporated into the liquid. If the stock looks too thin, just mash some more beans right there in the pan or from another container of beans and add them til it looks good and thick. Or you might consider adding more stock and veggies such as celery and herbs such as fresh parsley and turn the stew into a soup!

You can prepare the dish to this point and put it on hold, or proceed by adding the remaining beans to the liquid. Simmer and stir a bit for 10 minutes, tasting and adjusting seasonings. I don't often cook with salt and because of that I ramp up the flavors by increasing seasonings and often adding a dash or three of Tabasco Sauce. If you use salt you may not want or need the Tabasco. When it’s done, prepare the fried bread cubes below to be served as a topping for individual bowls of stew.
                                                                                     Fried Bread Cubes Ingredients:
Nutrition facts

2 T extra virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic quartered
2 slices of the bread of your choice cut in to ½ inch cubes - I actually used a stale bratwurst bun tonight, but you just use what you have.

Fried Bread Cubes Directions:

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes so that the garlic will infuse with the oil. Remove and discard the garlic (this is hard for me to do, but I just remind me that the flavor is now in the oil). Return the pan to medium heat, add the bread cubes and sauté stirring frequently until lightly browned – about 5 minutes or so.

Serve as a topping for the stew and enjoy mindfully. Always save your left over rolls as they make the most outstanding bread cubes!


Calabria is a small region in Southern Italy near the arch of the boot! It's the area where my father-in-law grew up and the home to a lot of wonderful cookery!
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  1. This recipe was excellent! I didn't have any carrots but I did add some crushed tomatoes and very liberal with the garlic and italian herbs. The croutons turned out perfectly and were a great addition of flavor and texture. Thanks so much for a delicious low cal and healthy dish

  2. I am so glad you enjoyed it! The great thing about a recipe is that it is not set in stone. It's just a beginning to be changed at the whim of the cook...or the requirements of the ingredients on hand! Excellent substitutions! :D