What you see here is an excellent, hearty, winter bake. It's easy to pull yourself together, and once you're in the oven, the smell of garlic and herbs along with the heirloom beans, simmering tomatoes, and golden mushrooms smells like the neighbors on the sidewalk. You should do it a.s.a.p!
I found the recipe deep in the back Vegetarian cuisine Rancho Gordo Cookbook – (Rancho Gordo here forever). The technique of cooking mushrooms is part of what caught my attention. You boil the mushrooms in quite a bit of liquid and then let them cook in the remaining fat (olive oil) after the liquid has evaporated. The technique is like Carnitas, the classic Mexican pork dish. Hence the title of the recipe. But in contrast to traditional preparation, cooking with mushrooms is of course a vegetarian casserole.
Choose the right beans
The recipe falls within the book's Dark & Hearty Beans chapter, and Eye of the Goat beans or other brown beans are recommended. That said, many, many types of beans could work here. I went a bit of rogue and used some nice Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans. They are creamy, melty and mild. They took in the bubbly casseroles beautifully. I also like the way these beans hold their mark. Apart from these suggestions, I imagine that using a cream-white bean would also be good here – for example the Alubia Blanca or Marcella. And if you only have canned beans on hand, that's fine! Drain, rinse, use!
I just wanted to leave a visual reference here. This is what the mushrooms looked like when I took them off the stove. And now that I'm looking at it, I could have walked a little longer. Do you see how beautifully the edges are browned? That is what you are looking for. Then put all the other ingredients in the same pan (bottom), stir everything well, add some cheese and put it in the oven. I've tweaked the original recipe a bit so you can get from the stove to the oven in a pan (see below) and increased the amount in half as this casserole is popular and quick.
Here are some ways you can build on this idea!
– – With breadcrumbs: Mix 1 cup of coarse breadcrumbs with a little olive oil and sprinkle over the bean mixture before baking.
– – Breakfast casserole: Before baking, make three divots in the bean-mushroom mixture, crack an egg in each of the wells and bake until the eggs are firm and the bean mixture bubbles.