Braised Big Beans and Squash with Feta and Chopped Lemon

SERVES: 4

Despite what the title suggests, any kind of white bean (or even a chickpea!) will work well here, though I think big ‘ole gigante beans are the most fun. If you can’t find acorn squash, big chunks of butternut will work as well, though you’ll need to peel it first. Delicata would be a great option too. Use what you can find!

Active Time: 1 hr 20 Mins

Total Time: 2 hrs

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Produce

  • 4 large shallots
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium acorn squash (about 1 ½ lbs)
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1 lemons
  • 2 big handfuls parsley

Pantry

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Big pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 15 ounce cans white beans (butter, gigante, or cannellini)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick

Dairy

  • 4 ounces feta cheese (not crumbled)

1. Do some prep:

  • Peel 4 large shallots. Thinly slice into rings.
  • Peel and thinly slice 8 garlic cloves.
  • Cut 1 medium acorn squash in half through root end, scoop out and discard the seeds and cut the squash into 2” wedges.
  • Crack open 2 15 ounce cans of beans; drain well.

2. Start the braise:

  • Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the squash wedges and cook, until deeply caramelized on both sides, flipping once halfway, 8-12 minutes total. Season the squash all over with salt.
  • Scoot the squash over, piling it to one side of the pot. Add the shallots to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring until the shallots are softened and beginning to caramelize at the edges, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic, and cook, until just softened, 1-2 minutes longer.
  • Add 1 cup of dry white wine, scoot the squash back into the center and stir into the garlic and shallots and cook until the wine has reduced by half, and the alcohol has cooked off, about 5-7 minutes.

3. Add the beans and simmer:

  • Add 2 cups of water, a few big pinches of salt, the drained beans, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 large sprig of rosemary, a few pinches of red pepper flakes and a few more big glugs of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Once the pot simmers, reduce the heat to very low and cook, uncovered, at a very bare simmer, until the beans have absorbed some of the liquid and the stew is rich and thick and flavorful, 30-40 minutes. There should still be some liquid surrounding the beans, so they stay brothy-ish but the liquid will be more viscous.

4. Make the chopped lemon and parsley salad:

  • While the stew simmers, thinly slice one lemon, discarding the nubby ends. Finely shop the slices into small pieces (about the size of peas). Add the chopped lemons to a bowl with a big pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Let sit until ready to serve.

5. Serve:

  • Divide the squash, beans and broth among serving bowls.
  • Pick the leaves of a few big handfuls of parsley, toss the parsley with the chopped macerated lemons.
  • Top each bowl with a few big planks or crumbles of feta cheese and the parsley lemon salad. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve. (FYI: the skins of acorn squash can be tough so you’ll probably want to scoop the flesh out of them as you eat!)