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baked butter beans with nestled feta

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion (150-175g), chopped
  • 23 cloves garlic (10-15g), crushed through a press
  • 2 carrots (140g), medium diced
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon (1g) dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons (2g) dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5g) crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1g) black pepper
  • Two 14-ounce cans (2 400g cans) diced tomato
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) sugar
  • Three 14-ounce cans (3 400g cans) of butter beans, strained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup (12g) minced fresh dill fronds *
  • 3/4 cup (40g) minced fresh parsley leaves (reserve some for garnish)
  • 7 ounces feta (200g), cut into about 10-12 large cubes

Instructions

  1. Heat a large oven-proof 10 to 12” steep-sided skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, then add the olive oil, followed by the onion, garlic, carrots, and about 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions and carrots soften quite a bit (reduce to low if they start to caramelize).
  2. Add the oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, black pepper, diced tomatoes, and sugar, and bring up to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20-25 minutes, just until it forms a very thick sauce.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425° F (218° C) convection while the sauce is simmering.
  4. Taste the sauce once it’s done. Adjust the seasoning, stir in the butter beans, and remove from heat. Add most of the dill and parsley (reserve a couple pinches for garnish). Distribute all but 1 of the feta cubes evenly over the surface of the beans. Gently push down the feta cubes so that they nestle among the beans. Gently nudge some of the beans back over feta cubes to make sure they’re not showing (it’s like planting tulip bulbs). Crumble the remaining feta on top, and bake for about 25 minutes, just until the exposed feta browns, and the whole thing is heated through. Garnish with the reserved parsley, and serve.

Notes

* Feel free to use a much smaller amount of dried dill (but make sure to use fresh parsley).

To make ahead: 1 or 2 days ahead of time, make the sauce, wash and mince the herbs (dry them very well first), and cut the feta into cubes. You can even strain and rinse the beans and leave them in the fridge, if you’d like to. Once you’re ready to bake, heat the sauce back up in the pan you’re going to bake it in (you might need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water). Once it’s warmed through, add the butter beans, dill, and parsley, stir together, and nestle in the feta cubes. Bake and garnish as usual.