These white beans here are simmered with whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, two spices that reflect the North African influence on Israeli cuisine. The slightly lemony dish is perfect with rich braised meats like veal shoulder.
1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
1 teaspoon baking soda
Three 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and stir in the baking soda. Refrigerate overnight.
Drain the beans and rinse them under cold water. In a medium saucepan, cover the beans with 2 inches of fresh water. Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain the beans, discarding the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and their juices and simmer over low heat until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes. Stir in the beans and simmer until the beans have absorbed the flavors of the sauce, about 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, parsley and mint and season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature before serving.