We’re invited to a surprise benchmark birthday party this weekend for a long time friend of our’s. I wanted to make an easily transported, no fuss dip. JT absolutely loves Bar Mercurio‘s white bean paste that they serve instead of butter with their focaccia, so I knew I had to make it! I wanted to make it a few days ahead to allow the flavours to really blend.
The picture doesn’t do it justice. This dip is SOOOOOO creamy, you would think there is gobs and gobs of butter in it, but there ISN’T! So incredibly good, and creamy.
- 1 cup dried navy beans (if you use canned, make sure you rinse really well)
- 5 cups LS chicken stock or a mix with water
- 2 tbsp panchetta
- 2 tbsp shallots
- 2-4 tbsp lemon juice
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp LS chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Remove most, but not all excess outer skin from garlic bulb. Put into a tightly fit ramekin. Drizzle with the olive oil and 3 tbsp chicken stock. Seal tightly with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes or until garlic is soft.
- In a large Dutch oven, fry the panchetta until crispy. Remove from pan but reserve the fat in the pan.
- Cook the shallots in the reserved bacon fat until translucent.
- Rinse the beans (it is recommended not to soak over night as that apparently increases the propensity to cause gas, and no one wants that!). Add them with the stock into the pan with the shallots. Cook the beans until very soft and mushy (1 1/2 to 2 hours. Or you can reduce this time significantly by cooking in a pressure cooker). Allow to cool to room temperature.
- When the garlic has cooled to room temperature, squeeze each clove out of its skin into a large food processor bowl. Add the beans, the liquid from poaching the garlic and panchetta. Add lemon juice and sea salt to taste. Process until smooth and creamy. . Serve with pita chips or bread sticks.
As a note, I thought I would want to press this mix through a fine seive, but JT reminded me that those bacon bits would be lost, so I processed a bit longer so the bacon bits are a lot smaller. It has a very smooth and creamy texture.