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Friday, August 8, 2014

Bean, Bacon, and Tomato Bake

Bean, Bacon, and Tomato Bake #BaconMonth #PutSomePigInIt
This is not the prettiest dish on the shelf. At least not after it's baked. It's pretty gorgeous beforehand, actually. At a glance, the pan straight from the oven is rustic and humble. But, you know what? Those are actually my favorite kind of dishes. You could serve this atop some nice crusty sourdough, perhaps that's been charred a bit on the grill. But since I had just pulled a warm loaf of Ciabatta from the oven, I sliced it to go alongside.

I wound up scooping spoonfuls of the mixture onto slices of the Ciabatta. It was a messy job, but somebody had to do it. Seriously, even though warm tomato juices escaped through the holes, the textures and flavors played so perfectly together. You know how something is so good that you are confident you won't stop eating until every last morsel is gone? These beans baked with tomatoes, garlic, and bacon are just like that.

Though you may not be able to tell by the photos, the beans are beautifully creamy, and laced with the smokiness of bacon. Whole garlic cloves turn spreadable. Soft green sprigs of oregano whisper tales of the fertile earth from which they sprung. Bright tomatoes burst with a warmth that mimics the steamy summer evenings that currently envelop us.

Bean, Bacon, and Tomato Bake #BaconMonth #PutSomePigInIt
Note that in the pre-cooked photo above, it shows the bacon going in raw. In the recipe, I'm going to recommend adding the bacon to the pan alone first. I think par-cooking it is the way to go, as not all of the pieces lost their floppines (as the kids would call it). You could also parcook the bacon in a pan or on a tray in the oven in advance if you so desire. But sometimes, I aim for dirtying as few dishes as posslbe. Okay, I pretty much aim for that at all times.

Go ahead, take a humble bite of summer, this is peasant food at its finest.

Bean, Bacon, and Tomato Bake
A simple, rustic dish of juicy summer tomatoes and butter beans baked and flavored with bacon and garlic.
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Bean, Bacon, and Tomato Bake
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Keywords: bake entree side nut-free soy-free sugar-free beans bacon garlic tomatoes

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 4 ounces bacon, sliced into strips crosswise
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes (all one kind, or a variety)
  • 6-8 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans Butter Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
to serve:
  • freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 1 loaf of freshly baked Ciabatta (or your choice of bread)
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Scatter the bacon strips into the bottom of a medium baking dish with sides. Slide into preheated oven and bake until almost done, 10-12 minutes. Very carefully drain all but about a tablespoon of the bacon grease from the baking dish (reserve bacon grease for another use).

Redistribute the bacon evenly over the bottom of the baking dish. Scatter the garlic cloves over the bacon. Set the cherry tomatoes (with or without truss) into the pan, along with the oregano. Return to oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Add the beans and wine (or stock) to the dish, sprinkle with just a pinch of salt and give it a good grate of pepper. Slide back into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the beans are heated through.

Remove from oven, give everything a stir. Shave some Parmesan cheese over the top, if you like, and serve with warm Ciabatta for scooping.

Kale ribbons would also be a nice addition to this dish. I would probably add them just before you add the beans.

-inspired by a recipe from Fresh and Light by Donna Hay
Bean, Bacon, and Tomato Bake #BaconMonth #PutSomePigInIt
This post is part of Bacon Month 2014! As part of the month-long bacon fun, we will be giving away one different bacon-centric cookbook per week during the month of August. You can enter the current giveaway at the bottom of this post. You can see all of the books we're giving away this month, see a list of participating bloggers, and also enter whichever giveaway is currently running by clicking over to my Bacon Month Announcement post at any time.

Keep up with the bacon goodness by following Bacon Month with the #baconmonth and #putsomepiginit hashtags, and find even more bacon recipes and inspiration on our I Heart Bacon Pinterest board! Plus, you'll find a running tab of this month's bacon posts from every participant at the end of every bacon month post!