I haven't written about a recipe here in ages, but I'm hoping to change that.
Let's jump back in with a simple bean soup. This soup could be made with any type of bean (with adjustments to the cooking time based on size), but is especially nice for showing off an heirloom variety. Last time I was in San Francisco I stopped by Rancho Gordo's Ferry Building outpost and picked up a bag of their enormous royal corona beans. Their flavor and texture really shine with this preparation.
If you've never used your oven to make beans, give it a try. It's my preferred method and The Kitchn has an easy to follow tutorial. I didn't soak my beans, but read through their recommendations and make your own call. This recipe makes a huge pot of beans and broth that will store for up to 3 days.
Royal Corona Bean Soup
1 lb dried Royal Corona beans, rinsed
4 crushed garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
pepper, freshly ground
Parmesan, freshly grated
Preheat oven to 325F
In a large dutch oven, place all the ingredients except Parmesean, and cover with water plus 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stovetop and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
Cover the pot and move to the oven. Cook for 120 minutes.
Check on the beans every 30 minutes or so, and be sure to add more water if necessary. Beans are done when they are tender, which may take more or less time depending on your type of beans or if you pre-soaked them.
Serve beans with a ladle full of bean broth and a generous grating of Parmesean cheese.