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Spirit Rock “Beans and Greens”: Gigante Beans and Escarole

Spirit Rock “Beans and Greens”: Gigante Beans and Escarole

Serves 4

 Recipe adapted from recipe by “Palizzi Social Club” in Philadelphia


  • 2 cups pinquito beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 cups gigante beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, halved (use a toothpick to keep each half intact)
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 carrot, halved crosswise
  • 1 stalk celery, halved crosswise
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 head of escarole, leaves torn
  • 2 oz parmesan, grated (optional)


Start by draining the soaked beans, giving them a quick rinse under the faucet, and then placing them in a large saucepan with about 8 cups of water. Add onion, garlic, carrot, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil, skimming foam from the surface as it collects. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to keep the beans submerged. Cook until the beans are perfectly tender, about 90 minutes (if they still feel a little grainy, keep them cooking, the wait will be worth it!). When they are mostly cooked, generously season the cooking liquid with salt, and add the freshly cracked black pepper. When fully cooked, discard the vegetables and herbs, and set the beans aside in their cooking liquid. If cooking ahead, the beans can be prepared, chilled, and held for four days before finishing the dish.

Heat 4 TBS olive oil in a large pot over low heat. Add the garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to change color, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes (and some chopped herbs like parsley or thyme if you’d like to add even more flavor); cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 second. Bring the heat up to medium, and stir in the escarole a handful at a time, letting it wilt before adding the next batch, until all the escarole is wilted (this will take about 5 minutes). Add 1/2 cup of water, and bring it to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, maintaining a gentle simmer until the escarole is very tender, about 20-25 minutes. Add 2 cups of beans and 1 cup of bean cooking liquid (you can go heavier on either, or save the rest of the beans and cooking liquid for another meal). Bring to a simmer; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parmesan. Divide beans, greens and broth among bowls, drizzle with remaining olive oil and top with fresh herbs to serve.




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