What you see here is an excellent hearty winter casserole. It's easy to pull yourself together, and once in the oven, the smell of garlic and herbs next to the heirloom beans, simmering tomatoes and golden mushrooms smell the neighbors from the sidewalk. You should do it a.s.a.p!
I found the recipe deep in the back Vegetarian cuisine Rancho Gordo Cookbook – (Rancho Gordo here forever). The technique for cooking the mushrooms is part of what caught my attention. You cook the mushrooms in quite a bit of liquid and then let them cook in the residual fat (olive oil) after the liquid has evaporated. The technique is like carnitas, the classic Mexican pork dish. Hence the recipe title. But in contrast to traditional preparation, cooking with mushrooms is of course a vegetarian casserole.
Choosing the right beans
The recipe falls under the Dark & Hearty Beans chapter of the book, and Eye of the Goat beans or other brown beans are recommended. That said, many, many types of beans could work here. I went a bit of a villain and used some nice Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans. They are creamy, melty, and mild. They took in the bubbly casserole juices beautifully. I also like the way these beans hold their marks. Aside from these suggestions, I imagine that using a creamy white bean would be good here too – for example the Alubia Blanca or Marcella. And if all you have on hand is canned beans, that's fine! Drain, rinse, use!
I just wanted to leave a visual reference here. This is what the mushrooms (above) looked like when I took them off the stove. And now that I'm looking, I could have walked a little longer. See how nicely the edges are tanned? This is what you are looking for. Then put all the other ingredients in the same pan (see below), stir everything well, add some cheese and put it in the oven. I've tweaked the original recipe a little so you can get from the stove to the oven in a pan (see below) and increased the amount by half as this casserole is popular and quick.
Here are some ways you can build on that idea!
– – With breadcrumbs: Mix 1 cup of coarse-grained breadcrumbs with a little olive oil and sprinkle over the bean mixture before baking.
– – Breakfast casserole: Before baking, make three divots in the bean and mushroom mixture, crack an egg in each of the wells, and bake until the eggs are firm and the bean mixture is bubbly.