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New York Times Heirloom Bean Ragout


  • 1 to 1 ¼ pounds fresh shell beans, such as Sunset Runner or Runner Cannellini runner beans, shelled (about 1 3/4 to 2 cups, shelled)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 plump garlic cloves; 1 crushed, 2 minced
  • Bouquet garni made with a few sprigs parsley and thyme, Parmesan rind and a bay leaf, wrapped in a leek leaf and tied with twine
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (about 3/4 pound)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 good-size pattypan squash or other summer squash, quartered and sliced
  • 1/4 inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • Slivered fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan for garnish


In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, combine the beans, onion, crushed garlic clove, bouquet garni and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard onion and garlic clove.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet and add leeks and celery. Cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes, and stir in minced garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, and add tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down slightly, about 10 minutes.

Stir leek and tomato mixture into beans, along with summer squash. Bring back to a simmer and cook 15 minutes, until beans are creamy-tender but intact and the vegetables are soft and fragrant. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove bouquet garni.

Ladle ragout into wide bowls. Top each serving with a generous sprinkling of slivered basil leaves and a spoonful of Parmesan.

Sunset Runner Bean and Merguez Stew Recipe from Sunset


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 good-sized jalapeño chile, chopped
  • 2 cups total chopped yellow and red bell peppers
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Scarlet Runner beans, soaked overnight in cool water
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 12 oz. Merguez sausage (note, this dish can be made vegetarian by leaving the sausage out and adding ½ tsp. to 1 tsp. of smoked paprika for flavor)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley


In a pot, sauté onion, 2 tbsp. oil, chile, and peppers until softened. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes more. Spoon out half of this mixture and save it.

Drain beans and add to pot with broth. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 1 1/2 hours (this time depends a bit on how dry the beans are).

Cut sausages into chunks and brown them in a frying pan in the remaining oil. Stir in tomatoes and reserved pepper mixture and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan. Scrape all this into the bean pot.

Simmer beans uncovered until flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. Ladle out some liquid if you’d like a thicker stew. Season the stew to taste with salt, pepper, and parsley.

Serves: 6