What's particularly interesting about this bean puree is that it's not made with olive oil;
1 pound dried white beans
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves plus 2 whole heads garlic
1 pound russet potatoes (preferably Idaho)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
4 1/2teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste
(if serving at room temperature)
1. The night before serving, rinse the beans and soak them in cold water, making sure beans are totally immersed. Let them sit, uncovered, at room temperature overnight.
2. The next day, rinse the beans and put them in a large pot of clean water to cover by 2 inches. Pierce the onion with the cloves. Add the bay leaves, thyme, onion, carrot and the 2 garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 2 hours, or until beans start to fall apart. (Add more water if beans start to dry up before they are cooked.) Once beans are cooked, drain and let sit in colander. Remove bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and cloves.
3. While the beans are simmering, peel potatoes and cut in half. Place in a medium-size pot of cold salted water. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to fall apart. Strain and let potatoes sit in a colander for 5 minutes. Place in a large bowl.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the 2 garlic heads in oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until soft when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and let cool. When the garlic has cooled, squeeze each garlic clove into a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Add butter and cream to a small pan. Bring to a boil. Add half of the mixture to potatoes. Mash together until small chunks remain. Set aside.
6. Place drained beans in a food processor. Add other half of cream and butter mixture, and puree until mixture is smooth.
7. Finally, add bean mixture and roasted garlic to potatoes. Add the salt and pepper. Note: If you allow this dish to come to room temperature, you will have a great dip for bread and crudites, or a great spread as the base for a sandwich. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and mix well.
What's particularly interesting about this bean puree is that it's not made with olive oil; instead, cream and butter are used to give it extra richness. This makes the dish absolutely exquisite as an accompaniment to all manner of French and Italian entrees, from grilled fish to sausages. Think of it as mashed potatoes with a surprise. Makes about 3 1/2cups