Tuesday Night Tarragon Bean Mash

My vegetable supply is dwindling down in anticipation of my Friday product delivery so I didn’t have much to work with tonight. I wanted something healthy and without much salt, but packed with flavor. After a scan through the pantry, my mind kept going back to two cans of beans. I walked around the house and thought about it, wrote a few emails, read a few blogs, then decided I would go with a bean mash.

Healthy was my inspiration for tonight. As much as I wanted to use butter and lots of salt, I resisted the urge. I decided to focus on a few flavors that I thought would work well with the beans and enhance their flavor.

Sometimes (i.e. often) I can get heavy handed and add too many things to a dish which then makes it feel scattered. I wanted to boost the flavor of the beans without going crazy by adding loads of spices. The flavors that immediately came to mind were garlic and lemon. The only fresh herb in the house was cilantro and it just didn’t seem right. Fortunately, I remembered that my tarragon just started to take off with our warmer weather so I ran outside to snip a few stems.

I used two cans of beans, one cannellini and one blackeye peas. The mix wasn’t intentional but instead what was lurking in the pantry. I heated a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, then added 2 cloves minced garlic. After 30 seconds, I added the drained and rinsed beans.

I squeezed half a lemon into the beans and continued to cook for about 8 minutes. I stirred the beans frequently to make sure they didn’t burn. Using the back of a wooden spoon I mashed about half of the beans, then added a good dose of cracked black pepper.

Just before serving I stirred in a handful of lightly chopped tarragon. Serve with a nice drizzle of a flavorful olive oil.

The mash turned out good but with a bit too much lemon juice. There was an underlying tartness that I didn’t like. The lemon I used was quite juicy and I added just a tad too much. Maybe the zest would have worked better and not been as tart. The tarragon and garlic worked perfectly with the beans. I love the light anise flavor of tarragon — it works wonderfully with chicken as well.

Next time I would use only cannellini beans and I think the mash could be upgraded from good to superb. I’m not a blackeye pea fan and think I only bought this can because they were on sale. The texture is a bit firmer and the taste isn’t as bean-y as I like, so blending them with the creamy cannellini beans made them more palatable.

Surprisingly, Joe liked the mash quite a bit. He’s not a bean fan and normally groans when I serve them. However, tonight he told me several times tonight how much he liked the mash.

I think he may have been reacting to the tarragon but I didn’t want to say it to him. Last year while weeding our garden Joe mistakenly pulled out all of my tarragon thinking it was a weed. He realized his mistake and felt pretty bad (and likely my reaction to the incident didn’t make him feel any better) so I didn’t want to bring up the topic at dinner while eating the mash.

We bought new tarragon plants last year and they survived the winter. So assuming they survive future gardening, I’ll have plenty of tarragon for cooking this summer.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Manggy April 23, 2008, 12:59 am

    Very resourceful! (Master of the pantry?) I don’t know what BEPs taste like, but if you happen to see some of my comments all over (haha), I love beans. I’ll probably love it too (even if it’s not so bean-y?).

    You could have fish (though I know you’re not a big fish-guy) or shellfish as well– they don’t require a lot of salt to bring out the flavor– in fact, they might have appreciated the extra lemon-ness! :)

  • Peter G April 23, 2008, 1:35 am

    What a lovely, simple and easy recipe Allen. I love all the flavours happening here…The tarragon is a nice creative touch.

  • Ben April 23, 2008, 9:05 am

    I agree with Peter, this is a simple and easy recipe and yet all the flavors going on are just amazing. And the best part is that we can learn from your mistakes :-p

  • Helen April 23, 2008, 9:09 am

    I like to make mash from beans, so much better ofr you than mashed potatoes! Perhpas try half juice and half zest next time? Then you will get some tartness from the juice and the more aromatic oils from the zest. Yum.

  • farida April 23, 2008, 9:27 am

    Allen, nice invention:) This looks healthy and delicious. A touch of tarragon is a good idea – enhances the flavor. It’s one of my favorite herbs, by the way, I just just munch on it by itself:)) We make bean pate that looks slightly similar to yours and I love it. I’ll try your version too. It is easier than mine.

  • Allen April 23, 2008, 9:53 am

    Manggy: Ahh, you are a bean boy – I love them too. I considered buying fish last weekend and it just didn’t excite me … so I skipped it :-)

    Peter G: Thank you … I’m all about simple and easy!

    Ben: Haha — that reminds me … I’ve been meaning to post about all the horrid things I’ve made but never shown you :-)

    Helen: I considered making potatoes last night but then decided the beans would be healthier :-) Next time I’ll reduce the juice and add the zest.

    Farida: I like the lumps that the mash has, creamy yet chunky. I nibble on the tarragon too, especially when I’m out in the yard gardening!

  • kat April 23, 2008, 10:04 am

    I’m so glad you are back. This sounds quite good & easy, I’ll have to try it out with your suggestions of less lemon juice.

  • Kevin April 23, 2008, 5:41 pm

    That sounds good for a simple bean dish. Very often simple turns out to be best.

  • Christie @ fig & cherry April 25, 2008, 3:25 am

    Delicious! I bet this would go beautifully with a nice piece of grilled white fish – because of the tarragon. Hmmm, I know what’s for dinner tonight now, thanks!

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