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- Prebranac (Serbian Baked Beans)
- 1 pound dry large butter or Lima beans or chestnut Limas
- 5-6 medium yellow onions (about 2lbs), sliced into thin ribs
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water.
- Drain the beans. Place the beans in a pot and cover with water. (For each cup of beans use three cups of water). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are very soft, for about an hour and a half (cooking time will depend on the type and the size of beans, so check them from time to time). Drain and discard the water.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a large casserole or Dutch oven combine the oil with the onions over medium heat (alternatively you can heat the oil first, but starting the onions in cold oil will help release their flavor gradually and will give them mellower taste than the hot oil method). Simmer the onions for about 30 minutes, until very soft and deep yellow. You might have to add a drop of water from time to time to prevent onions from drying.
- When the onions are done, add the beans, garlic, paprika and bay leaves to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper, add about 3 cups of water, and mix gently. (The beans should be somewhat covered in water, but not swimming in it.)
- Place the casserole in the oven and bake for about an hour to hour and a half, adding more water if necessary (the beans should never be completely dry). When done, the top layer of beans should be gently caramelized and fairly dry, most of the moisture having evaporated, while the beans inside should be wonderfully creamy and coated with onions.
- Let Prebranac completely cool before serving. Let it rest for a day in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature (but not cold) with crusty bread.
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