Friday, June 13, 2014

White Beans with Tarragon and (Coconut) Cream: A Nigel Slater Fast & Budget-Friendly Dish

Traveling this past week had me dwindling down the fresh food in my fridge before leaving. Then, I had a couple delays getting to the grocery store when I got back in town. Needing to put together a dish for I Heart Cooking Clubs this week, I pulled out Nigel's Real Fast Food and dipped into my pantry and into the vegetable crisper where the bunch of tarragon I bought a couple of weeks ago was still going strong. "Herby, creamy beans" caught my eye and I found that I had almost everything needed to whip up this bowl of comfort food, served alongside the remains of a bag of baby spinach sauteed with garlic. Good for the budget, great for the soul! 

(I made a few small changes to Nigel's recipe, noted in red below.) 

Nigel says, "A comforting dish of herby, creamy beans. You will need some bread to wipe up the juices from the plate, or serve it on toast."

White Beans with Tarragon and (Coconut) Cream
Adapted From  Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater
(Serves 2)

a bit of butter (I used 2 tsp olive oil)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1 small carrot finely diced (mine was not so finely diced) ;-)
2 sprigs fresh time (I only had dried--used a heaping teaspoon)
leaves from 4 branches of fresh tarragon
a (16 oz) can cannellini or flageolet beans
2/3 cup light cream (I used non-dairy/non-sweetened coconut creamer)
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter (or warm the olive oil) in a saucepan and fry the onion (I added the carrot here) gently until it is soft and golden. It must not burn or it will become bitter. Add the bay leaf, carrot, thyme, and tarragon. Tip in the beans, well rinsed and drained. Pour in the cream and slowly bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture starts to boil, remove it from the heat, correct the seasoning--it may need a good grinding of pepper--and serve hot.  

Notes/Results: In my mind you just can't go wrong with creamy beans--add tarragon to them and they are even better. Together, Nigel and I have really been rocking the tarragon lately--with salmon, topping carrot soup, on eggs, and now in beans. These beans were tasty--such good herby flavor, even with the dried thyme. I didn't have cream on hand but the coconut creamer I used worked perfectly, cut down on the saturated fat and calories and (when olive oil is subbed for the butter), makes it a vegan dish. To turn it into a main course, I added the side of  garlicky spinach--wonderful in the flavorful sauce that oozed over. Having no fresh bread in the house (and Nigel is right, you'll want it to mop up the juices), I browned a frozen paratha. It works just as well with creamy bean juice as it does sopping up curry. A quick and budget-friendly meal that hit the spot--I will enjoy my second serving of beans with a piece of grilled salmon tonight. I will happily make this again.    

These beans are being linked up at IHCC this week. You can see the Budget Friendly Dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. Herby, creamy beans sound like the ultimate comfort food! I love all the herbs you used to boost the flavour of this budget-friendly dish.

  2. Oh my goodness, this looks wonderful! I'll have to make this ASAP. Nigels cookbook has been on my wish list far too long!

  3. Oh my goodness, this looks wonderful! Nigellas cookbook has been on my wish list far too long!

  4. Oh my goodness, this looks wonderful! I'll have to make this ASAP. Nigels cookbook has been on my wish list far too long

  5. I am really getting vegetarian lately and have been cooking a lot with beans. I think summer just lends itself to lighter meals. Thanks for posting this, Deb.

  6. Can never go wrong with beans. YUM!

  7. Joyce, Kitchen FlavoursJune 15, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    A lovely creamy bean dish! Looks good, and with thyme, tarragon and bay leaf, must have add a lovely herby fragrance. I like it that you have served it with paratha, makes a wonderful vegetarian meal!

  8. Can never go wrong with beans. YUM!

  9. yum. I love white beans and coconut and had never really thought of cooking them together. Must try this. :-)

  10. Grace-Life can be simpleJune 16, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    This looks good especially for a cold day. It looks really yummy and well-balanced with vegetables, proteins from the beans and carbo from the paratha. Nice :)

  11. Couscous & ConsciousnessJune 16, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Delicious, Deb. I love the idea of comforting creamy beans with tarragon - I so wish it was possibly to get fresh tarragon here right now :-( I can well imagine how perfect this would be with a piece of salmon.


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