4 cups drained White Navy or Canellini beans, which have been soaked overnight in cold, salted water, then brought to a boil & simmered for 40 min. to 1 hr. in 12 cups of UNsalted water
1 large sweet onion, sliced
6 cups torn fresh Kale leaves, washed, still wet (You should make this with Kale, Swiss Chard, or any lovely green that you can get your hands on in the fall.)
2 tablespoons bacon fat, butter or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups 1/2 & 1/2 or heavy cream
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Panko or other bread crumbs
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
8 fresh Basil leaves & one bunch of fresh Parsley, minced finely
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Make sure you’ve soaked your beans overnight, or use canned if that’s your preference or you forgot to soak and prep your beans. *I make note of this because I am notorious for forgetting to soak my beans some times. But in this case, I did soak them the night before and felt quite smug when I went to make the dish!
Saute the sliced onion in the fat/oil of your choice. The original of this recipe calls for pancetta, which I had none of. It would be tasty with the additon of pancetta, bacon, salty ham or sausage if you wish. I start the onions on high, turn the heat down and cover the frying pan to wilt the onions, then caramelize them. This is my favorite way to prepare the onions for dishes.
Toss the crushed garlic in, mix it around a bit, then add the Kale. My mom had just picked this Kale for me and brought it to me in a bag, all washed and torn. She’s amazing, my mom is.
Wilt the Kale, saute it for about 5 – 8 minutes, then add your fresh beans. Salt & pepper the whole lot and mix it around, carefully.
Add the cream or half and half and mix it carefully.
This can stay in the pan and the flavors will marry nicely while you prepare the crumb topping. I used Panko crumbs but you can use freshly prepared bread crumbs. Toss the crumbs with grated parmesan,minced parsley & basil.
Fill an ovenproof casserole with the mixture with room at the top for pouring the crumb topping. Smother the dish with the crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes in the top part of the oven.
Take the dish out of the oven, bubbling and luscious, and serve immediately. But don’t burn your mouth!