Last on the must-go refrigerator blowout list: a few slices of bacon, carrots and celery, and half a jar of tomato bruschetta. I like recipes that use meat as a condiment more than the main event to orchestrate sides around; a few slices will go a long way to season a big bowl of veg; a single crumbled Italian or chorizo or even chicken sausage would do the trick too.
When I saved this photo, I titled it “Bean Thing”; I can’t call it a soup (although it has the potential to be), nor rightly a stew, but it’s a chunky meal-in-a-bowl that has nice soppable juices for a grainy bun and will help you meet your daily vegetable quota.
I’ve made this before with canned tomatoes, but not wanting to open a can when there are fresh tomatoes and tomato products to be used up I chopped up two small fresh tomatoes and added half a jar of tomato-garlic bruschetta.
The best part of dinner was the snack I ate while making it: a spinach salad (quelle surprise) that was really just spinach leaves with the cold goat cheese gratin crumbled over it, and the rest of the balsamic vinaigrette. I had to sit down, it was so good.
White Beans with Tomatoes, Spinach and Pancetta
3-4 slices pancetta or bacon, chopped, or a sausage squeezed out of its casing
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can white kidney or navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can diced tomatoes or a chopped tomato or two and a glug of bruschetta or salsa
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth or water
a big handful or two of chopped or torn fresh spinach, chard or kale
Salt and pepper
In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon, onion, carrots, celery and garlic for about 10 minutes, until the carrots are tender and you’re starting to get some caramelized bits.
Add the beans, tomatoes with their juices and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the spinach, chard or kale and cook until it wilts, then leave the lid off and cook it until it’s as thick as you like. Season with salt and pepper and serve it while it’s hot.