Seared Zucchini with Beans

Despite having hosted our friends for dinner for many of the Saturday nights over the past 20+ years I still find myself stumped fair to regularly on what to make for dinner. As a result I will often add “2 vegetables” to my grocery list with no real plan and hope for inspiration while in the produce section. Here are the results from such a recent inspiration.

Seared Zucchini with Beans
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 red onion, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 3 zucchini, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 28 oz. can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 tsp. Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice blend
  • 1/2 cup water.
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent; about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, stirring it into the onions and cook until fragrant, which should be less than a minute. Push the onions and garlic to the edge of the skillet.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and increase the heat to medium high. Add the zucchini and spread it out into a single layer. Allow it to brown on this side, untouched for 3-4 minutes. Now sprinkle the zucchini with salt and stir it to redistribute the pieces. Cook for another minute.
  4. Add the beans, spice blend and water. Stir everything together and cover. Reduce the heat to low and allow it to cook until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Notes:
You can really use any type of bean here that you like. Hominy probably wouldn’t be my first choice but if you rinsed it then it would work.

If you don’t have the Mural of Flavors spice blend you can mix together 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander and the zest from a lemon or orange. Use 1 teaspoon of that and save the rest.

Baked Beans

I’ve made these several times for parties or large gatherings. They are heartier than the usual canned version with a nice dense bean.

Baked Beans
Servings: 12 to 16
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 28-oz. cans of small red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground red chipotle
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven racks so a large Dutch oven (with lid) will easily fit. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Add the ketchup, tomato, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire, paprika and chipotle to a bowl. Stir until the brown sugar has broken up and been well mixed into the other ingredients.
  3. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium until shimmering. Add the chopped onions and a good pinch of kosher salt. Stir to coat with oil and cook for around 5 minutes. The onions should be translucent.
  4. Add the sauce mixture to the pot, stir into the onions, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the beans and incorporate. Cover pot and bake for 75 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Test seasoning for salt and pepper; adjust as desired.

Notes:
For best results make this dish in advance, cool and refrigerate overnight. Reheat the next day in a slow-cooker or a 350°F oven for 30 minutes.

This recipe is roughly based on one by Dave Lieberman. I pulled the bacon to make it more vegetarian friendly though I don’t mark it as vegetarian because Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian.