Spring Farm Dinner at Fullerton Arboretum – Heirloom Bean Recipes

Spring Farm Dinner at dusk.
Fullerton Arboretum’s Spring Farm Dinner at dusk.

Last week, the Fullerton Arboretum hosted an exciting local food event, the Spring Farm Dinner. This dinner consisted of a seven course meal, paired with beer and wine, and served al fresco. Every single dish highlighted produce grow right there, in the Arboretum’s own soil. Our Localtopia frequent contributors Jonathan Duffy Davis and Jonathan Dye created and cooked the entire menu. One of the standout Arboretum-grown ingredients of the night was farmer Davis’ heirloom beans. These beans were made first into an pate appetizer and then sauteed to compliment the main course. After a number of earnest requests, Davis agreed to share his bean recipes with the world. Read on for this legume exclusive… 

The heirloom bean pate appetizer making its way to the spring farm dinner table.
The heirloom bean pate appetizer making its way to the spring farm dinner table. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Heirloom Bean Recipes, by Jonathan Duffy Davis                                                                               Heirloom beans made two appearances in the menu at the Spring Farm Dinner that I cooked with Jonathan Dye at Fullerton Arboretum on April 12th. Beans are an humble ingredient but people are always amazed at the diversity of flavours in some of the heirloom varieties. Several people have asked for the bean recipes so we thought we’d post them here!

Recipe for Heirloom Bean Pate
“Saint-Esprit à Oeil Rouge” is a type of soldier bean. It’s floury texture and meaty flavour made it a perfect choice for a bean “pate.” We began the meal with this because legumes like beans are the foundation of maintaining soil fertility on small diversified farms – the foundation of the farm was the foundation of the meal. We served this course with Anaheim Brewery Red Ale.

-Soak 1/2 lb of dry heirloom beans overnight in 1 liter of water with 2 tbs salt

-Add beans to a sauce pan, cover with salted water, and simmer until tender (1 – 2 hours) and drain

– do not rinse

-Mince 2 shallots and saute in olive oil until tender and translucent (bacon fat and butter would make this an even richer dish)

-Add 1 tbs fresh thyme, finely minced

-Deglaze pan with 3 – 4 tbs of brandy or cognac-In a food processor, combine shallots and beans and add 1/4 cup olive oil-Puree until smooth-Season with salt and pepper

-Serve over crackers or slices of grilled baguette

The heirloom beans were sauteed to go along with the main course.
The heirloom beans were sauteed to go along with the main course. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Recipe for Sauteed Heirloom Beans                               

We served these “Cranberry” beans with 5-Bar Beef braised in red wine. The nuttiness of this simple sauté complements meat dishes nicely. This recipe is a fantastic stand-in for a vegetarian main course. They could be served with some steamed bitter greens or a caesar salad. 

-Soak 1/2 lb of dry heirloom beans overnight in 1 liter of water with 2 tbs salt

-Add beans to a sauce pan, cover with salted water, and simmer until tender (1 – 2 hours) and drain

-do not rinse

-Place a large sauté pan or skillet over highest heat and add 4 tbs olive oil or bacon fat

-When oil is just beginning to smoke, add beans and do not stir at least one minute (try and develop some colour on the beans)

-Stir beans and allow to cook for one minute or until their colour has further developed

-Add 2 tbs apple-cider vinegar, 1 tbs fresh thyme, and as little or as much minced crisp bacon as you desire

-Season with salt and pepper-Serve!

Heirloom beans served with beef from 5 Bar Beef.
Heirloom beans served with beef from 5 Bar Beef. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.
The Spring Farm Dinner in full swing.
The Spring Farm Dinner in full swing. Photo by Brian Feinzimer.

Thanks so much to Brian Feinzimer & the Fullerton Foundry for taking so many beautiful photos.

For more photos of the Fullerton Arboretum’s Spring Farm Dinner, check out http://feinphoto.com/ and http://facebook.com/feinphoto.

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