This sumptuous, velvety purée can be served with hearty main dishes like braised lamb shank or as a dip with crostini.
White Bean Purée
Prep time: 20 minutes plus 24 hours if soaking beans/plus cooking of fresh, soaked beans. Makes 3 cups.
1-1/2 cups dried great Northern beans
1 medium white onion, peeled, cut into small diced pieces
1 medium carrot, cut into small diced pieces
1 celery rib, cut into small diced pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
5–6 cups chicken stock or water; more if needed for cooking beans
To finish the purée:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled & minced
Coarse salt and ground black pepper, as needed
Few drops extra virgin olive oil
Soak the beans overnight or, alternately, use the quick-soak method: Place them in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside, covered, for 1 hour.
Drain the beans and transfer them to a 2-quart saucepan with the onion, carrot, celery, smashed garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and 5 cups chicken stock or water.
Season the beans with salt and ground black pepper and bring them to a boil over high heat. Immediately lower the heat and simmer for 90 minutes, or until very tender. If the mixture becomes dry, add some additional stock or water. Drain the beans in a colander. Pick out and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
To finish the purée, warm the beans and vegetables in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cream, thyme leaves, and minced garlic to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high, bring the beans to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cook until the cream is reduced and almost dry on the beans and the beans are heated through, 4—5 minutes.
Transfer the bean mixture to the Vitamix container and secure lid. Select Low speed. Turn machine on and then switch to High speed. Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades. Add a few drops of oil until the purée glistens slightly.
Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Select Low speed. Use the On/Off switch to quickly pulse mixture just to combine.
If making in advance, cool the purée in a large stainless steel bowl and set it in another bowl filled with ice water. Transfer the beans to an airtight container after they've cooled and refrigerate them for up to 2 days. To warm the purée before you serve it, put a thin layer of water in a sauce pan, bring the bean purée to room temperature, and then warm it in a pan over medium-high heat.
Recipe provided by the Culinary Institute of America.
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