Bean and Winter Squash Gratin 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Feb 5, 2014

Fine-grained, dense squash varieties such as kabocha, Hubbard and kuri work nicely in this gratin because they roast to a wonderful creamy consistency and hold their shape particularly well. If you can't find those types, substitute any other winter squashes, such as butternut, or pumpkin.

As the gratin rests, it will continue to absorb liquid. If you plan to serve it right after baking, you might wish to reduce the bean liquid called for slightly, from 1 cup to 3/4 cup.

Make Ahead: The beans need to be boiled briefly, then soaked for 1 hour; or soak them for 8 to 12 hours. The gratin can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through; cover with aluminum foil if the topping starts to brown too much.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 cup dried borlotti (cranberry) beans (or tiger's eye or any pinto-style bean)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Water (optional)
  • 3 ounces country-style white or whole-wheat bread (crusts removed)
  • Flesh from 1 pound winter squash, such as kabocha squash or Hubbard squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (see headnote)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into small dice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 dried arbol chili pepper, seeded and crumbled (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half (any green sprout removed)

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Place the beans in a pot with water to cover by several inches; bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cover the pot and let the beans soak for 1 hour. Alternatively, they can be left to soak in tepid water to cover by several inches for 8 to 12 hours.

Add to the beans and their soaking liquid a generous pinch of salt, the bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add water if necessary to keep the beans submerged by 2 to 3 inches. Cook over medium-high heat; once the liquid starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. The beans may take longer than 1 hour to cook, depending on their freshness. Leave them in their soaking liquid while you finish preparing the rest of the gratin.

Tear the bread into chunks and place them in a food processor; pulse into crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil, tossing to coat evenly.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the squash pieces with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, turning them once with a spatula after about 15 minutes, until lightly golden and tender.

Heat 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, stirring to coat; cook until tender and just beginning to turn golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in the thyme, fennel seed and dried arbol chili pepper; cook for 2 minutes, then gently fold in the squash just until incorporated.

Discard the bay leaf in the beans; drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and gently stir them into the squash mixture. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper.

Rub the bottom and sides of a shallow 2-quart baking dish with the cut halves of garlic; discard the garlic or reserve for another use.

Transfer the bean-squash mixture to the baking dish. Pour 3/4 to 1 cup of the reserved bean-cooking liquid evenly over the top of the dish (see headnote), and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the crumbs are golden. Wait for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Recipe Source

From food writer Emily Horton.

Tested by Nilar Andrea Chit Tun.

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