Escarole, Kale and White Bean Casserole

You may have noticed my ongoing love affair with white beans. They are, in fact, my favorite bean. On the downside, this casserole looks kind of like pond scum and I think the directions I went by are pretty incomplete (I was only supposed to use 2/3 of the beans and 3/4 of the mushrooms, wtf?) so I had to wing it. It didn’t congeal like a proper casserole ought to, making me a sad Cassie, and the white beans really didn’t stand up to the greens flavor-wise. Also, it was an awful lot of work, washing and chopping and wilting ALL THE KALE and the escarole and cooking the mushrooms and Adventures in Bean Mashing (pro tip: an immersion blender is not blendtacular enough for beans without a lot of liquid). My roommates seemed to like it a lot more than I did, probably because they had fewer expectations and didn’t spend a whole lot of time wilting kale and swearing at beans.

Escarole, Kale and White Bean Casserole, adapted from The Bitten Word

2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 1/4 lbs. cremini mushrooms, sliced
7 cloves of garlic, divided
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 lbs. kale, washed and coarsely chopped
1-1 1/2 lbs. escarole, washed and coarsely chopped
2 cans (15 oz. each) canellini beans, 1/4 c. bean liquid reserved, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 3/4 c. grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease the bottom of a 9×13 pan or dish. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 Tbsp. of oil in a giant skillet over medium heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook until golden and tender, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste about halfway through. Set aside cooked mushrooms and repeat with more oil and the other half.

Chop 6 cloves of garlic. Wipe out the skillet, add 1/2 Tbsp. of oil, and dump the garlic in once it’s warm. Sautee until it’s delicious and fragrant, but don’t let it brown. Up the heat to medium-high and pour in the water, then start adding the kale. Sautee for a minute and then cover, adding more when the first batch wilts. Keep going until all the kale is added, and then start in on the escarole. When it’s all in, uncover and cook until the liquid evaporates.

Puree the white beans, reserved bean liquid, and remaining clove of garlic. Add the oregano. Set aside.

Chop the tomatoes coarsely, reserving the juices inside the tomatoes themselves (but draining the can when you open it). Mix the tomatoes and their juice with the red pepper flakes.

LAYER ALL THE THINGS! Kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, white beans, and cheese go into your baking dish; repeat. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, then broil for a minute or two so the cheese gets brown and bubbly. (No, I didn’t do this. Broiler not fit for human use. Yours will be prettier!) Serve!

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~ by iliadawry on 5 October 2012.

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