What’s Cooking Wednesday: Cannellini Beans & Chicory

Welcome to another edition of What’s Cooking Wednesday!

Today’s dish is chicory and beans. And for those of you who don’t like beans, I apologize in advance. I’m also sorry for those who have never tried chicory, because it is divine. Note that we eat this as a somewhat light supper, so there’s never an accompanying meat or other vegetable for us.

Many people know that chicory has been used in place of coffee, so maybe that doesn’t exactly make it sound inviting as a vegetable. Oh, but it is. Especially the wild kind, which is harvested throughout the winter down here. Think escarole and endive, and you’re on your way to understanding how chicory can be used. So, on that note, if you don’t have chicory, you can substitute members of the chicory family.

Cannellini beans & chicory


I’m not going to lie to you, P’s mom usually does the dirty work here. I could if pressed, but to steer you on your way, I’ve found a good page that describes the process of soaking and cooking beans. Otherwise, just buy some cans of the beans ready to add to the chicory once it’s cooked — this works too.

For this recipe, you may have to play with measurements to your desired serving sizes and tastes. This recipe makes enough for three rather large portions.

  • 2-3 cans of beans
  • 2 bunches of chicory
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium-sized peperoncino (hot pepper)
  • Salt to taste

1. Clean the chicory, chop, and place in boiling, salted water. Let boil for about 5 minutes or until the stems are tender.

2. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside while you heat up olive oil (you need to be generous here, as this is mainly where the greens pick up flavor) on medium heat.

3. Add the garlic and peperoncino and after about two minutes, add the chicory and some salt. Stir well and let this cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the oil has been mostly absorbed.

4. At this point, add the beans, mixing them in well with the chicory. Also add some more salt and also some water to cover everything. Let this mixture cook for another 15-20 minutes, and taste test for salt level as you may need to add more. I’m not a big salt eater, but this dish seems to require quite a bit to get the maximum flavor.

5. Serve the dish hot with fresh oil drizzled on top. Crusty Italian bread is a must.

Buon appetito!

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15 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Cannellini Beans & Chicory”
  1. Jeff Gromen
    02.07.2007

    I’m going to have to try this as there seems to be tons of chicory at the market and I need some new ways to make it! Also it passes my test. It’s easy to make and I like ALL the ingredients!
    grazie

    Jeff

  2. Annika
    02.07.2007

    I bet it’s good but… sorry sweetheart but it looks awful! :(

    That being said, lots of food look bad but taste heavenly. I guess that all the food can’t be picturesque! :D

  3. Becslifeonline
    02.07.2007

    I’ve never tried chicory. Can I get it in Wales do you think? Probably, but I’ve never seen it. Maybe that’s just because I haven’t been looking for it though.

  4. Giulia
    02.07.2007

    I’d gladly eat a plate of anything that looks like slop and tastes delicious, then to have to eat a plate of something that looks delicious but tastes horrible.

    I think it’s so much more pleasant to be surprised at how wonderful something can taste while looking so bad as opposed to getting so excited at how something “looks” so yummy only to be disappointed at how it tastes.

    I usually make this dish with escarole. Only difference is that I like to add Gaeda or even those black cured olives to mine.

  5. stefanie
    02.07.2007

    I’m with Annika, but I’m trying to keep an open mind and trust you when you say it’s tasty. ;-)

  6. nyc/caribbean ragazza
    02.07.2007

    Adding this to my things to try. I have never cooked with chicory. Sounds delicious.

  7. Shan
    02.08.2007

    Thanks for the recipe. I didn’t realize chicory was something you could cook with.

  8. Gil
    02.08.2007

    Another dish from my childhood. My Father loved all kinds of greens: mustard, chickory, collards, etc. and always seemed to find some while shopping.

  9. Anonymous
    02.08.2007

    finally i know what the name of that bitter stuff is in english that they eat here all the time!! Not a great fan of chicory, but then again have never tried it in a recipe like that (here it is boiled/ over boiled, salted oiled and served cold – yeach!!). Vanessa in MEssina

  10. Antonella
    02.09.2007

    You eat it with nothing else…except bread, right? ;-)

  11. sognatrice
    02.09.2007

    Oh come on, can greens and beans really look good together when they aren’t very pretty individually? Trust me; this is good. And I’m making it again today :)

    Oh, and Antonella, of course you eat it with bread (don’t we eat everything with bread?)–that’s in the last line of the recipe :)

  12. Ariana from Chicago
    04.25.2008

    Such an interesting post. My mom, born in Calabria, has always loved greens like chicory and rapini. They ate them because, well, they couldn’t afford meat and other substantial stuff. Chicory was always growing somewhere. Fast forward 50 years in America, where food is plentiful, and my mom goes crazy when she finds chicory weeds growing on the side of the road. Go figure. I will have to humor her and try this dish. Grazie!

    By the way, French Market New Orleans Coffee (with chicory) is our absolute fav.

    Ariana, thanks so much for sharing! I do hope you’ll give the recipe a go–it’s *so* easy :)

  13. saretta
    10.12.2010

    My mother-in-law could never take a walk in the Puglian countryside without a knife in her pocket to gather the chicory!

  14. 10.12.2010

    I bet this would work in the spring with dandelion greens, too!

    Probably so! Dandelion greens are probably the only wild greens they don’t really “do” here…strange!

  1. [...] had prepared for us (they were already soaked and cooked), and although we usually pair them with chicor... bleedingespresso.com/2008/04/whats-cooking-wednesday-cannellini-beans-tomatoes.html
Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time.

 
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