Thursday, October 5, 2017

Baked Gigante Beans with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

There are some real advantages to 12-hour canning days. For instance, you can plug your electric car into a regular 110 volt outlet and be fully charged the next time you leave the house. You have enough time to listen to basically everything Lin Manuel Miranda has ever written consecutively. Also, if you're going to spend all day in a kitchen anyways, it's the perfect opportunity to slow-roast everything in sight.

Right now, that means tomatoes. Or, to be fair, until yesterday it meant tomatoes: Tuesday night saw our first morning frost (a whole TEN DAYS before I was supposed to can things!!) and most of the tomato plants are dead. So is all the basil. I've been handling my grief by reminding my farm wife twice daily that we need to do tomatoes and pesto in August next year, and also by opening the freezer to stare, Gollum-like, at the handful of slow-roasted tomatoes I put away last week.

So right, slow roasting. A couple weeks ago, I believe while canning peaches?, I made a pot of beans AND a tray of tomatoes in the oven at the same time. What followed was the easiest week of meals ever, mostly comprised of a rotating combination of beans, tomatoes, bread and cheese. Nobody really needs instructions on making a  sandwich with mozarella and slow-roasted tomatoes, but I can tell you it's a great idea- even if your bread is stale or freezer burned, the juices from the tomatoes soften it up. Photographed below is the closest thing to a recipe I made that week, and even then I hesitated to post it. Who writes recipes that start out "roast tomatoes for 6-12 hours, sometime in advance"? Most people don't sit in their houses all day making jam. But last night I ate it again, and when I was scraping the last juices out of the baking dish with a piece of bread I realized it might be a keeper.


Pre-oven. It looked lovely baked, all burbly and melted, but by that time the sun had gone down farther and all my photos looked terrible. Ah, to be an organized blogger with photography skills...


Baked Gigante Beans with Slow Roasted Tomatoes

8 slow-roasted tomato halves, from 4 tomatoes
3-4 cups cooked white beans with some of their cooking liquid (or two cans, drained but not rinsed)
2 Tbsp roughly chopped oregano
3 oz soft goat cheese
2 Tbsp good olive oil
salt and pepper

To slow roast tomatoes:

A note on tomato type: this is easiest with Roma tomatoes, which are both smallish and have a lower water content. Obviously this isn't a requirement- the yellow bits in the photo up there are the remains of a beautiful heirloom I felt a little bad roasting. I try and cut bigger tomatoes into half-Roma sized pieces, but I'm an oddball. In general, the larger and jucier your tomatoes are to start with, the longer you need in the oven- I left this batch in for 10-12 hours and they were still jammy.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and brush a layer of olive oil onto a baking tray. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise (if using romas) or into thirds if using larger tomatoes. Arrange tomatoes cut-side up, then brush the top sides with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and any herbs and spices of your choosing (I like coriander because as always I'm a fangirl, but I've seen recipes with rosemary, thyme, etc). Put the tray in the oven and bake for at least six hours, checking every hour or so. Tomatoes are ready whenever you want them to be... but I like them to be collapsing and starting to curl at the edges.

Extra tomatoes (and you should be making extras) freeze well.

To make beans:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut your tomato halves into a couple of pieces each. Combine tomatoes with cooked beans and oregano in an ovenproof baking dish and mix gently. Break the goat cheese into chunks/crumbles and scatter on top. Drizzle with the olive oil, then a big pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, then eat, using a big h of bread to sop up the juices.