The discovery of the navy beans during an end of year pantry clean out spurred the cooking of this dish into motion.
The beans were soaked for 24+ hours. Then, simmered for another few with a pinch of backing soda, rosemary, and bay leaf until they were nearly falling apart. Before the mushrooms were prepared the beans were strained from their cooking liquid and set aside. Ready to be called up at a moments notice.
The mushrooms were cut into thick slabs. This would allow them to withstand the hot, hot oven temperature with the desired end result being big, caramelized chunks of woodsy fungi. The pieces were tossed with seasoning, thyme, and olive oil before being spread on a large sheet tray for roasting.
Kale was brought in to add color and sweetness. The ribs were removed. The leaves roughly chopped. One shallot and two cloves of garlic were minced. They cooked on a lower heat to allow them to sweat. The kale was added after the aromatics cooked translucent. I never worry about over cooking kale. It’s such a hardy being. The beans and mushrooms were added after that, topped with stock, and allowed to simmer for a further ten minutes. During this time the flavors will meld and some of the beans will break apart adding body to the broth.
Spoon into deep bowls, garnish with thyme.
This is a versatile dish for wine pairing. This can be attributed to the mushrooms. When cooked they mimic meat in many ways. They will undergo a maillard reaction while cooking the same way a piece of seared meat would. The surfaces caramelize and have a subtle crunch with each bite. Mushrooms are stripping vegetables. They have a satisfying chewy texture.
White wines with a broader mid palate would stand up well. I would try a Condrieu, dry Riesling, unoaked/neutral oaked Chardonnay. For red wines I would try bigger wines with some age or fruitier reds. Older Malbecs (read 5+ years old), Barbera, Zinfandel, and Merlot would be options.