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Flageolet Gratin with Fennel

November 13, 2012

Posting this one for my friend, who requested some good vegetarian slow cooker recipes; this is one of our favorites from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker. Although this dish is called a gratin, it doesn’t contain any cheese and can be made vegan-friendly by substituting olive oil for the butter in the topping. It’s hearty enough to be served as a vegetarian main course, or it would also make a great side dish in a more omnivorous meal.

Flageolet beans have a wonderfully creamy texture, although they are sometimes hard to find. I buy them from a local spice/baking distributor (Niblack foods), but you could likely get them at a natural foods store or a well-stocked grocery store. I love how the crunchiness and spiciness of the breadcrumb topping contrasts with the milder creamy beans. No blandness to be found here!

Flageolet gratin

Flageolet gratin with fennel

Works best in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.

This recipe can be made ahead of time: complete steps 1 and 2 and then refrigerate for up to 2 days before proceeding with step 3.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1½  cups dried flageolet beans
  • 2  cups vegetable broth
  • 2  cups water
  • 2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 2  leeks, white part with just a hint of green, cleaned and sliced
  • 1  bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, and diced
  • 4  cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½  teaspoons herbes de Provence or dried thyme
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon black pepper

Topping

  • 2  cups dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2  cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1  teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  cup (1/2 stick) melted butter or olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine flageolets, broth, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 2 minutes. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and fennel and cook, storring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, herbes de Provence, bay leaves, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Add flageolets with liquid and stir well.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours, until flageolets are tender. Discard bay leaves and transfer to a broiler-safe gratin or casserole dish.
  4. Preheat broiler. In a medium bowl, combine bread crumbs, parsley, Aleppo pepper, and salt. Add butter and mix until combined. Sprinkle evenly over bean mixture and broil until topping is lightly browned.

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