Serious Eats: Recipes
Eat for Eight Bucks: Bean Gratin
1 1/4 cups dry beans: $1.50
1 onion: $0.50
1 carrot: $0.25
1 stalk celery (pro-rated): $0.25
Fresh sage: $1.39
Can tomatoes: $1.50
Pantry items: Breadcrumbs, olive oil, salt, garlic, polenta.
Total cost (for 4-6 portions): $7.39
As you know, I am a huge fan of rice and beans. Even I, however, crave a little legume variety from time to time. The Art of Simple Food suggests a bean gratin, which I was pleased to eat on top of polenta baked the Madhur Jaffrey way. The combination is good and filling but definitely tends toward the ultra-simple or even staid; add a vinegary green salad or sautéed leafy greens with a squeeze of lemon to brighten the meal.
I cook my beans from scratch, but two 14-ounce cans, drained and rinsed, will work for all but the biggest bean snobs. I'm calling fresh breadcrumbs a pantry item because a little bit of most any kind of bread will do; you should always stash staling bread in the freezer for exactly this moment. If you happen to have some grating cheese around, scatter a handful of parmesan, pecorino, or even cheddar beneath the breadcrumbs before baking.