Get cozy with this hearty Dutch oven bean recipe
One chef spills the beans on the secrets to Dutch oven cooking.
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Caroline Schiff is a chef, recipe developer, writer, and consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently the executive pastry chef at Gage & Tollner and the head chef of Slow Up. She has over a decade of experience in the industry from restaurants and recipes to bakeries and cafes. Schiff recently published her first cookbook, "The Sweet Side of Sourdough," with Page Street Publishing.
I recently made this recipe for two friends and the next day I got texts from both of them about it. “Those freaking beans.” “OMG, I’m obsessed with your beans.” And then about a week later, “Wait, what was in those beans?”
The key here is a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. It helps the butter brown quickly and evenly, and it holds the heat, imparting a satisfying crust and toastiness to the canned (yes, canned!) beans. Paired with aromatic shallots and sage, anyone will be fooled into thinking this dish took hours of gentle, conscious flavor building while listening to NPR on a brisk autumn day. But in reality it took all of 15 minutes and I did it in between two free YouTube workouts on my living room floor, with a podcast about a grizzly bear attack playing in the background.
A word of caution about brown butter: It gets crazy hot, so when I say remove it from the heat I mean it. The high sides of the Dutch oven prevent most splattering, but work with caution, lest you burn yourself. And as easy as this recipe seems, it moves fast, so have all your ingredients prepped, portioned, and within reach so you can go, go, go!
What You Need
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 shallots, sliced as thinly as possible
1 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
15 large, fresh sage leaves, torn
2 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Juice of half a lemon
Shaved parmesan to garnish
How to make White Beans with Brown Butter, Shallots, and Sage
Step 1: Brown the butter
Heat the butter over medium high heat in your Dutch oven until golden brown, fragrant, and nutty. This should take about five minutes—you’ll see some brown, toasted milk solids forming and that’s how you’ll know it’s done. Turn off the heat and let the brown butter cool for one minute.
Step 2: Add aromatics
Add the shallots and black pepper, stir to combine, and let sit for two minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add the sage leaves and stir through until wilted, about one minute.
Step 3: Add beans
Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat, add the drained beans, salt, and olive oil, then gently stir to coat the beans in the shallots and brown butter. Allow the beans to fry for about three minutes, stirring gently once more.
Turn off the heat, then add the pine nuts and a squeeze of lemon juice. If serving immediately, shave some parmesan cheese over the top. If serving later or the next day, reserve the parmesan and allow the beans to cool to room temperature in the Dutch oven. Cover with lid and chill in the fridge.
Step 4: Reheating the beans
Heat oven to 350°F. Place the covered Dutch oven in the hot oven and heat until beans are warm throughout, about 20 minutes. Top with shaved parmesan and enjoy.
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