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Even restaurants are offering homey dishes

Posted by Sheryl Julian  January 14, 2009 02:40 PM

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It's time you perfected your comfort food. I've been braising beef chuck, ribs, hunks of pork, all kinds of bean and potato dishes. The house smells good, you eat for days, the food improves on reheating.

Three-bean stew with ham
Serves 6

1 cup dried cannellini beans
1 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried kidney beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3/4 cup crushed canned tomatoes
1 large piece (1 1/2 pounds) boneless ham
12 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large bowl, combine the cannellini, pinto, and kidney beans. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Let the beans soak at room temperature overnight. Drain the beans into a colander.
2. Set the oven at 275 degrees. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften.
3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the drained beans, rosemary, and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
4. Add the ham and water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook the beans for 4 hours or until they are very tender. Halfway through cooking, turn the ham over in the pot.
5. Remove the pot from the oven. Transfer the ham to a cutting board and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. Return the ham pieces to the stew. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once. Sheryl Julian & Julie Riven

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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If you want to contribute a recipe to The Recipe Box Project, please write it below. Also tell us where you got it (package box, cookbook, mom, friend -- include the name). We're looking for the kinds of dishes that people grew up on, that were served at family suppers, that tell a story, that are typically New England, or that you brought with you from a far away place to New England. We will print one of the recipes in the Food section once a month. To ask any questions, write to Debra Samuels, who is overseeing this project, at To discuss your recipes, click here.