Easy Braised Cannellini Beans with Chorizo is the name of today’s game. Most braised white bean recipes go from dry beans, to soaking them overnight, to then braising, but who has that kind of time? Also, who can remember to soak the beans the night before to begin with? I for one can never remember! As a matter of fact, I still have a bag of red beans in my pantry from weeks ago of when I was supposed to make Red Beans and Rice and I just keep forgetting to soak them overnight. It’s a constant battle for me, and one that I always seem to be losing. Can’t a guy have red beans and rice for dinner whenever he wants?! Anyhow, so I decided to use canned cannellini beans for this recipe instead, because it’s quicker and a lot easier to deal with. I promise you’ll still get tons of flavor out of the beans because I’m sharing some of my tips and tricks on how to get the most flavor out of those cans and into this delicious dish. So whether you’re in need of a new irresistible appetizer, or looking for a quick and easy meal to make when you really don’t feel like cooking, these braised beans have your name all over them. Grab the ingredients from the store and give it a try this weekend, you won’t be disappointed. I do have to warn you though, this will quickly become your new favorite dish. Don’t let the brown color and mushy appearance throw you off, because this is one of the best recipes I’ve ever shared on here (and that’s really saying something).
Because this is a simple dish, and we’re taking some help from the store using canned beans, it’s crucial to develop various layers of flavor for this dish. Let’s start by browning the chorizo in a bit of olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often so that it’s all evenly crispy.
**Note: This will brown and crisp up the chorizo but will also release a lot of flavor into the oil. We’re going to use that flavor as a building block to our dish.**
Transfer the chorizo to a plate or bowl, using a slotted spoon, making sure to leave all of that flavorful fat in the pan. Add in the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the canned cannellini beans, chicken stock, more olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and the crispy chorizo from early. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer, uncovered.
**Note: Because canned beans are salted already, and because I wan’t to be able to control the amount of salt going into the dish, it’s important to drain and rinse the beans with cold water to remove all of that excess salty liquid they’re packed in.**
Give everything one final stir and then transfer to a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake, uncovered, until somewhat charred and the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 30 minutes. Just make sure to stir the beans once, halfway though the braising process.
Remove the beans from the oven, and then smash a few of them with the back of a wooden spoon. This will give the dish somewhat of a smooth and chunky texture.
**Tip: You want this dish to be very easy and rustic, so don’t smash all of the beans because some whole beans are needed for texture.**
Allow the mixture to cool somewhat so that you don’t burn your mouth off. I’m speaking from experience because I couldn’t wait to try it. Discard the herbs and bay leaves right before serving.
I like to serve this dish with lots of grilled bread on the side for dipping and dunking and as a edible utensil. Lay a slice of grilled bread on a dish and then pile on the braised beans. You can drizzle the whole thing with a bit more olive oil and garnish with chopped fresh parsley for color.
This dish is basically brown mush, but I promise it’s really good brown mush. I know I mention this being an appetizer, and you might be thinking that three whole cans of beans is a lot for an appetizer, but if you think about it, it’s perfect for parties! You’re going to want this big batch of braised beans.
Technically this makes about 8 to 12 appetizer portions, depending on how much you plan on serving everyone, but it also makes 4 to 6 large main course portions. This would be a great weeknight dinner with some wine if you don’t feel like cooking an extravagant meal. It’s hearty and filling and the perfect meal to make during this time of year!
- 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 pound Spanish chorizo, diced (or hot Polish kielbasa)
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 3 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 crusty bread loaf, sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Set a large skillet (with high sides) or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the diced chorizo and cook until brown and crispy, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, with slotted spoon. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Add the beans, chicken stock, remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and the crispy chorizo. Stir until well combined, and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven, uncovered, and bake for 30 minutes, stirring the beans halfway through.
- In the meantime, drizzle the bread slices with olive oil. Heat a stovetop grill pan over high heat until very hot. Grill the bread in batches, about 1 minute per side or until charred.
- Remove the beans from the oven, and give some of them a smash with the back of the spoon. Not all of them, as you still want whole beans throughout the mixture. Serve warm with grilled bread on the side. Enjoy!
- Yield: 8 to 12 appetizer servings or 4 to 6 main course servings