Beans in an herbed tomato sauce.
2 medium onions
2 whole cloves
9 ounces dried flageolets, soaked for 6 hours and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, rubbed between your fingers
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups drained canned tomatoes, broken
salt to taste
1. Peel 1 of the onions and stud it with the 2 cloves on opposite sides. Put the studded onion, along with the beans and water to cover by 2 inches, in a medium saucepan. (A narrow diameter saucepan is preferable to a wide one.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 1 hour, or until beans are soft. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
2. While beans are cooking, make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Chop the remaining onion coarsely and add it to the pan, along with the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook until onion is just translucent, but not too soft. Add the tomatoes and season well with salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes.rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook until onion is just translucent, but not too soft. Add the tomatoes and season well with salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes.
3. When beans are ready, drain them in a colander, discarding the clove-studded onion. Add the drained beans to the sauce, and stir them together. Adjust salt and pepper before serving.
There is a classic northwestern French pairing of flageolets with lamb, in which the pale young beans are cooked with plenty of garlic and served in their own sauce. Less well known is the abovedish, which is the other customary use in Brittany for flageolets: beans in an herbed tomato sauce. There is, of course, no reason not to serve it with roast lamb anyway; it's delicious. Serves 6 as a side dish.