Friday, March 11, 2022

Flageolets au Gratin- Gourmet Magazine February 1972


Before coming down with this cold (day 5ish? I've lost count but think I'm turning the corner for the better so, yay!) I made this bean dish for the boys. I haven't been cooking this week, but it looks like they've figured out ways to feed themselves, and I've detected actual cooking taking place in the kitchen. I'm not racing back to take over. 

My own meals have been of the soft/liquid variety complicated by not really being able to taste anything with a cold, a sore throat, and having zero appetite. I knew that would happen, so I've been doing things like whisking peanut butter into milk and making a dense, high calorie pudding with it. I read today about a way to get more calories into milk by fortifying it with powdered milk. I'm going to give that a try as well. Is eating straight sour cream gauche? I really dislike yoghurt, and Greek yoghurt seems to me just a way of eating straight sour cream for people that think they're too sophisticated to eat straight sour cream. It adds a lot of fat and calories and doesn't taste like something died and is decaying in my mouth. 

It is really hard to find good nutritional stuff for malnutrition that isn't directed at eating disorders. I was able to get better search results by looking for geriatric nutrition, and found that many of the dieticians working with that population have a better sense of feeding someone with chronic illness as the ageing population faces them with more regularity. I am finding THIS site helpful, if you're in need of similar help, or know someone that is.  Also, who the hell am I kidding? By medical definition I am "an older person" even if I'm not quite elderly. So that's humbling. I'm past " middle age" by CDC definition. Throw in some bad dental work (a bridge that never felt right), a dry mouth, autoimmune disease, dysphagia, medications that destroy my stomach, appendectomy complications, and pretty soon I was seeing myself in post after post about malnutrition in the ageing population. Thankfully, there's some great information that doesn't rely on, "Drink a protein supplement which has more or less been the guidance I'm getting." I'm doing that too as they're beneficial, but I'd like to have actual food occasionally , even if it has been pureed. 
Anyway, I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes and in the meantime, eating as much sour cream as my body will let me. Which is, I suspect, quite a lot.

Back to the main post.

Flageolets are stupid expensive in Nebraska and usually rather old as they aren't popular here, so I went with some beautiful Navy beans I'd recently purchased from the hippie health food store. They're a small white bean native to the Americas also known as, "pea beans." Why are they called Navy Beans? Because American sailors have been eating them as a staple food since the 1800s (I didn't know that. That's from Wikipedia). They're the bean typically found in baked beans. These were dried, but hardly any were split, and looking at the bag I got the sense they hadn't been on the shelf long. I don't know what it says about me as a person that I get excited by dried beans. 

I made a few changes from the recipe by soaking them overnight with half a teaspoon of bicarb in the water. Does it help, or is it cooking superstition? I couldn't say, but much like the old wives tale about not adding salt to the cooking water of dried beans there have been just as many articles written to debunk it as there have in been in favour. I don't add the salt until later. If it doesn't make a difference then, so what? Is it harming anyone? People fight about the silliest thing online, but beans really don't need to be one of them. Do what feels correct for you. I'll post the recipe as written also noting I used whole, tinned tomatoes for the recipe because there are no fresh tomatoes in Nebraska at this time of year that you'd want to eat. I also used a dairy free heavy cream made from fava bean protein and oil that worked beautifully. So many of those are coconut based which will impart a slight flavour, but the bean one (I use Silk heavy whipping "cream" and it really does whip!) works without any issues. I also used a vegan margarine. 

I would say it was successful. The boys both enjoyed it served the first night with fish and roasted vegetables, and the second night I took the leftover beans and served them with roast chicken. For the third night I had about 1 cup of chicken and a few servings of the beans left so I fried a few pieces of turkey bacon, added some broth to thin it down, and threw the leftovers over chickpea pasta. No waste! You might not get three nights off of these beans, but I am told they just kept getting better night after night. 

Flageolets au Gratin:

In a large bowl, soak 2 cups of dried flageolets in water to cover overnight. Drain the beans and put them in a heavy casserole with one onion stuck with 2 cloves and a bouquet garni composed of 6 sprigs of parsley, 1 garlic clove, unpeeled, 1 bay leaf, and 2 sprigs of thyme (I adjusted with dried). Add enough water to cover the beans by an inch (I did more) and 1 tablespoon salt (I skipped the salt) and bring the liquid to a boil. Skim off the froth, lower the heat, and simmer the beans for 1 1/2 hours or until they are tender. Discard the bouquet garni and onion. 

In a skillet, sauté 1 onion finely minced, in 2 tablespoons butter until it is soft. Add 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips and 1 garlic clove, crushed. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the flageolets, mix them in gently, and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to  a buttered, shallow gratin dish, sprinkle it well with bread crumbs (it didn't specify but I did fresh) and dot it with 2 tablespoons softened butter. 

Bake the dish in a hot oven (375 degrees F) for 30 minutes or until it is hot and the crumbs are browned. Sprinkle the dish with chopped parsley (didn't have parsley so I used chervil). 

The cover is from the story on the Amalfi Coast. What a delight it would have been to subscribers finding this magazine in their mailbox in February of 1972. 

Our expected blizzard never came, but it did get cold and windy. Next week the temperatures will rival early summer. I'm not going anywhere, but I'm also not packing away all the winter items just yet. We've had snow flurries in May. I sincerely hope this will not be one of those springs. 

I'll leave you with perhaps my favourite Tumblr meme

Hang onto your hats, it fucken wimdy out there. 


Emily said...

Three blog posts in a single week? You're spoiling us! Thanks for the flageolet casserole recipe..

I don't think it's weird that you want to eat sour cream. Sometimes I put vegan sour cream on a baked potato, and I think to myself that the sour cream alone (yes, even the vegan kind) is so delicious that the potato just feels like a respectable excuse to have a tub of sour cream in the fridge. And then I imagine myself climbing into a Jacuzzi-sized tub of sour cream, determined to eat my way to the bottom, even if it takes me days.

It is nice to hear you've found some resources online that offer helpful advice for you.

The fox is fucken adorable! : )

bahnwärterin said...

thank you very much!
this sounds like something the BW would really like - and me too. i would use canned tomatoes too (for same reason) and too use ready cooked beans that we get in big glass jars here.... its hard to find dried beans and when they are the same prize as the already cooked ones - and i save some cooking gas and time this way :-)

mister BW came home after his first colon surgery with 47kg on 1,85m!! i got some simple "traditional chinese medicine" recipes for nurturing food - based on rice (used half basmati/half parboiled) cooked for 3 hours. yes - three. i gets more and more and you add liquid over the time. in the end its like pudding. they say it is all about the hot energy from the cooking that makes the difference. atleast - it really worked wonders on the BW.... you can add nature yougurt, quark, sour cream.... the next step was simple, soft stews from root veggies cooked minimum 3/4 hour with "miso paste" and veggie broth.... they even recommended garlic, onion and ginger root!

@powdered milk: be careful. once i ruined my colon with it - we used it on a long hike to make müsli - after 14 days of use it was a desaster. it took me years to recover.

mail is on the way <3

Beth Waltz said...

Your variations on the theme of beans is inspiring me to ponder moussaka made with plant protein alternatives to minced meat (using potatoes AND eggplant and an egg or two). My experiment with the veggie meat sub making a shepherd's pie was not a success, but I say an experiment that flops doesn't count.

Your wacky weather is headed our way now. As you note, the blizzard fizzled and next week's forecast features a 70o Thursday. Time to break out the seed packets and count the pots, calculate the bags of soil, etc.!

Polyester Princess said...

It's good to hear you've found some helpful nutritional advice online, and that the boys have managed to feed themselves! The Flageolets au Gratin dish sounds delicious, and that's another gorgeous magazine cover! xxx

Anonymous said...

I have always had problems cooking beans from scratch they seem to take forever to soften. Although I do like having dried bean always in the cupboard . They give me a sense of food security. I use mostly canned just because I am lazy and always have a stock of them at hand. Beans and lentils are some of the most environmentally sound foods to eat and very cost effective too.. Very appetizing recipes.

Vix said...

I've just found out that heavy cream is the American term for our double cream. We must be polar opposites as I love yoghurt but can't stand cream!
I'm glad you've found something you can eat and enjoy.
What I'd give to be sitting looking at a bowl of unwaxed lemons on the Amalfi Coast right now! xxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Eat as much sour cream as you like Goody! If it's calorific and fatty it will help you regain weight and fill you up. I like both sour cream and yoghurt of any description. I first tasted sour cream in Chicago in 1970 when I visited my aunt and her Polish husband. She made several Polish dishes containing sour cream which I really enjoyed.

The recipe sounds delicious and what an economic dish it is if you can make 3 meals out of it.

I remember years ago feeling quite deflated when I found out what 'flageolets' were - just beans...I'd imagined something to do with flags or banners!
Take care

Sheila said...

I like Greek yoghurt - there's also a brand called Skyr that I buy that's from Iceland (Iceland!).

"It fucken wimdy" is awesome.

Cannellini beans are what I use the most - they look a lot like those that you used. I buy 'em canned and rinse well. That looks delicious!

Señora Allnut said...

thanks for the recipe (totally agree with previous comment, you Are spoiling us!). We usually eat some kind of dried beans twice or three times a week, totally in a mediterranean diet!. I think that adding bicarb in the soaking water is useful when the water is hard (calcium). Probably it's a softener, so not a bad thing!.
I use a pressure cooking which takes 1/2 hour to cook pulses, saving time and energy!. Dried pulses are quite unexpensive here, you can get 1kg for 2-3 euros if you avoid 'gourmet' varieties. But most people prefer canned ones, as cooking is becoming a quirky hobby!

Glad to read that you got some advice!. So annoying when you can't find appropriate nutritional advice!.


Propagatrix said...

As a child I would sneak spoonfuls of sour cream as a snack. I still love the stuff.

Goody said...

There's some really good vegan sour cream. We've come a long way from Tofutti (though that's still best for baking and cooking).

The rice sounds like congee, which is supposed to be really healthy. I should give it a try.
I sent your parcel. No idea how long it will take to get there.

It sounds like a good idea even if the execution wasn't what you were going for. Might be worth another try. I really prefer the veggie substitutes in a tube rather than the frozen ones. Less chance of it getting watery.
If you make a moussaka please let us know how it turns out. I've never made it as my boys really aren't lovers of eggplant unless it is fried.

It is amazing what they can manage when they get hungry enough!

I know what you mean about food security. I wouldn't say I hoard food, but I do like to be prepared for bad weather, emergencies, etc. As long as you use them regularly and rotate them out, your pantry contents shouldn't get too old.

Yep, double cream/whipping cream. What I can't stand is condensed milk. I don't know how people can eat it.

I grew up in Chicago, so maybe that's where my love of sour cream comes from. What I'd give for a pierogi right now!
I miss all the Polish delis, grocery stores, bakeries, etc. in Chicago. How fun that you were able to visit in the 70s when the city was still worth visiting.

Skyr is, I guess cheese? Like quark. People make impressive cheesecakes with it, though I haven't tried. If you ever get really brave I have a recipe for skyr that involves leaving it on a counter to ferment. I haven't gone there yet!

Our water is very hard. It eats through the chrome on our faucets and they end up being replaced every few years. I've never lived anywhere with water like this. That's probably the issue with beans.

Sour cream is a reasonable snack. Calcium, protein.