Slow-Baked Beans With Kale (Martha Rose Shulman)

READY IN: 3hrs 20mins
Recipe by blucoat

The beans are baked very slowly and get very creamy texture, while the liquid they cook in thickens to a caramelized syrup. The kale practically melts in this casserole, going from bitter to sweet. I love using lima beans in this dish because they’re so big and their texture is so luxurious. This recipe was printed in the New York Times. NOTE: Make sure that the beans come to a simmer on top of the stove before placing them in the oven. Do not use old beans, which will not soften no matter how long you simmer them. If the beans do not soften in the oven after a couple of hours, raise the heat to 300 F. If you live at a high altitude, raise the oven temperature and let the the beans bake for longer. DO AHEAD: You can make this recipe through Step 3 and store it in the refrigerator up to four days ahead of serving. Top with the bread crumbs, and reheat in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes until the beans are bubbling and the bread crumbs lightly browned. Nutritional Information (6 servings): 370 calories; 8g fat; 58g carb; 12g fiber; 19g protein

Top Review by red_baron

Delicious bean dish ! but really - eat it for the Kale ! I saw the same recipe online, by Shulman and had to make it right away and it is fabulous. My BF said he'd try it but "hated" Lima beans (which is what the recipe I saw called for). Well, after eating he said- " you've even made Lima beans taste good ;) I didn't mention to him what a super-food kale is or how much protein is in the beans
I recommend blanching the kale- well worth the time. Do soak your own legumes overnight and use freshly cooked beans- canned beans are no match in flavor and texture IMO. I used large Limas but have baby Limas in the cupboard for the next time since I prefer a smaller bean. This dish is fine enough for the holiday table as a side dish to a hearty roast beef or as a meatless casserole style main dish anytime.
The taste is wonderful - kale is flavorful, softened and not bitter, the tomato taste is not overwhelming, and Limas worked very well with it all (even using the large ones they were indeed very velvety and creamy), it has a very 'rich' taste and flavor for a bean dish and it all blends well once you take a bite.Though I didn't seem to get too much caramelizing as much as a sauce- maybe taking the lid off of the casserole dish for a little longer might have done the trick. Leftovers tasted even a bit better,as always - so cooking them in the "Do Ahead" way might also be better.

Though I did not have the Herbs de Provence, I used what I had. Finding the savory took a trip to a few places. Later, I did manage to find H de P, in a local health food store that sells spices from bulk much less expensive than the supermarkets!, so now I have that for next time, which will be within the week!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the kale. Blanch for two minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain, squeeze out water and cut into ribbons. Set aside. (I blanch the kale to extract some of the bitterness, but you can skip this step.).
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large ovenproof casserole. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the dissolved tomato paste, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add the drained beans, the remaining water, the bouquet garni, herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Stir in the kale, bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Bake three hours until the beans are tender and creamy. (Made sure that the beans stay at a very slow simmer while in the oven. If they are not when you check, turn up the heat.) Taste and adjust salt.
  4. Mix together the remaining olive oil and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the beans, and continue to bake another 30 minutes to an hour until the bread crumbs are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and serve; or allow to cool slightly and serve.

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