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Brothy Beans with ‘Nduja and Orange

Renée Robinson

Nothing At All Boring About This Pot of Beans.

Brothy beans. I just love the sound of that. Good beans in a really good broth. That’s all there is to it. And yet, it can be so boring if some care isn’t put into making it. Let’s start with the beans. I thought it would be more interesting to have more than one kind. I used Rancho Gordo’s Royal Coronas and their San Franciscano beans. Knowing these would not cook in the same amount of time I soaked them in salted water separately overnight.

The next day I drained them and added chicken stock and fresh thyme sprigs to each pot. I started them on the stovetop and then popped them in a 300° oven until they were nice and tender. As I mentioned, I knew these wouldn’t cook in the same amount of time. The size of the bean was no indicator of how long these would take. The huge Royal Coronas took less than half the time of the much smaller San Franciscanos. 

I let them sit until I was ready to eat, which was a few hours later. At that time I combined them and added the juice of one orange and an ounce of ‘ndu ja *, that delicious spreadable salami-type ingredient. ‘Nduja is so powerfully flavored it only took that small amount for it to fully flavor the whole pot of beans. I keep it in my freezer and cut off a chunk when I need it for a recipe.

I then stirred in a half cup of heavy cream, let it get good and hot and served it up with a good drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley and orange zest. I recommend using at least a couple different types of beans to keep it interesting. In this case the large Royal Coronas are extremely creamy and the smaller San Franciscanos have a meatier texture. Both of them took extremely well to the flavorings and couldn’t have been more satisfying. This is by far my favorite pot of brothy beans I’ve ever made. We all loved it.


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Brothy Beans with 'Nduja and Orange

Recipe by Renée Robinson



This creamy bowl of brothy beans is flavored with 'nduja, orange juice, and zest. It's a flavor explosion of the best kind. Comforting and exciting at the same time. My kind of food.

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  • 2 cups heirloom beans, 1 cup of each type of bean

  • 2 quarts chicken stock

  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 navel orange, juice and zest

  • 1 ounce 'nduja *

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Black pepper, coarsely ground

  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley


  • In 2 separate pots or bowls, add 4 cups water and 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal salt, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add I cup of each type of bean to each pot. Cover and let sit overnight.
  • The next day preheat the oven to 300° with a rack in the middle.
  • Drain the beans and put them into individual large saucepans with 1 quart of chicken stock or broth and 4 sprigs of fresh thyme in each pan. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Put the lid on each pan and place them in the oven. Check after 1 hour for doneness. Depending on the type of bean, this can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. In my case, the large Royal Corona beans were in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, whereas the smaller San Franciscano beans took 2 1/2 hours.
  • After the beans are done, let them sit for at least 30 minutes. When ready to serve, combine the beans and their broth in a large pot. Add the orange juice and nduja and cook over medium heat until the nduja is fully melted. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste for seasoning. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil, and scatter on the parsley, orange zest and a few grinds of black pepper. I highly recommend serving it with some good crusty bread. Enjoy!

4 Responses

  1. This is going on the menu for this week! The kids and I are going to have the recipe as is (except for subbing BTB no chicken chicken stock). Is there anything that I could reasonably sub for the njuda for my vegetarian husband’s portion?

    1. Hi, Danielle! So happy to hear you’re going to make this. You’ll be fine with the BTB No Chicken Chicken Stock. As to the substitution for the ‘nduja, I’d recommend a little smoked paprika, and a little extra salt and pepper. If you have any Aleppo pepper, that would also be a good addition. Otherwise, I think it will be fine. Please let me know how you like it! Thanks!

  2. Ooh yum! Ordered nduja so I could make your chicken recipe. Now I’m going to have to make these beans too. Thanks!

    1. Well, I think this is wonderful. It’s such a flavor packed ingredient. I’ll be posting more recipes with it.😊

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