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- Iranian Baked Beans with Pomegranate Molasses, Walnuts, and Chard
- 1 pound white beans, soaked for 4 hours or overnight in 2 quarts of water, and drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups water (more as needed)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, preferably sweet red onions, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup pomegranate molasses
- 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed, leaves washed and chopped
- ½ cup (2 ounces) finely chopped walnuts
- Combine the drained beans, bay leaf and water (enough to cover by an inch) in a large, ovenproof casserole or Dutch oven (earthenware is nice) and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, until just tender. Check from time to time to make sure the beans are submerged and add water if necessary. Remove the bay leaf.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium-size heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Turn down the heat to low, add a generous pinch of salt, cover and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the onions are dark brown and have melted down to half their original volume, another 15 to 20 minutes. Stir into the beans, along with the pomegranate molasses, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven, turn to 325 degrees and bake, covered, for 1 hour. The beans should be very tender. Check from time to time to make sure the beans are submerged; add water as necessary or just press down on the beans to cover them with liquid. (They shouldn’t be swimming, though.)
- Uncover the beans, taste and adjust salt, and stir in the Swiss chard. Sprinkle the walnuts over the top and drizzle on the final tablespoon of oil. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or warm.
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