Heirloom Bean Stew
April, 2006

Serves 8 / At my farmers' market, I often buy heirloom beans with charming names such as Yellow Indian Woman, Peruano, and Scarlet Runner, but using a good old pinto or navy bean will bring satisfaction to the table. For a delightful comfort-food meal, serve these beans with slices of toasted rustic bread brushed with a fruity olive oil, along with wedges of a sharp artisan cheese.

1 pound dried beans
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
2 very large red onions, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup chopped garlic
2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
Fruity extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover. Discard soaking water. Add fresh water to cover beans and bring to a boil. (If you have sensitive digestion, discard this water from the first boil and start once more.) As boiling commences, reduce heat to a nice simmer. Add marjoram, onions, and garlic. Cook until beans are soft and creamy, about 3-4 hours. Add more water as needed to achieve desired consistency.
2. Before serving, stir in chopped tomatoes, if using, and season generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

PER SERVING (with 1 teaspoon olive oil): 287 cal, 16% fat cal, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg chol, 15g protein, 47g carb, 14g fiber, 12mg sodium