Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Julia Child's Brandade á la Soissonaise (Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs)

This delicious white bean dip from Julia Child gets extra flavor from fresh herbs!

Julia Child's Brandade á  la Soissonaise (Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs)
This marks the fourth year food bloggers have celebrated Julia Child's August 15 birthday by cooking one of her recipes, and after seeing Julie and Julia last week, this birthday celebration seems even more fun. I got down my only Julia Child cookbook and searched for something that could possibly be made South Beach Diet friendly, and this recipe for pureed white beans with garlic and basil was the winner!

Julia says that this can be made with canned beans, and the amount specified for the beans is exactly what I measured from one can of beans, which seems like good evidence that the cooking goddess did indeed use canned beans. The book also says the recipe can be made in a "super-blender-food-processor" which is what I used!

It surprised me to see that the recipe from a book published in 1970 included tahini paste (which Julia called "sesame seed paste") so if you made this with garbanzo beans you could probably get away with calling it Julia Child's hummus. I used white beans and increased the amount of basil a little, and ate it with whole grain Flatout flatbread, wishing I was in Paris sharing the plate with Julia and Paul.

I made a double batch so I'd have leftovers in the fridge, so be aware that amounts in these photos are two times what the recipe says. I started with canned Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained in a colander.

You can see from the holes that some kind of pest is eating my basil, but luckily I still had enough to use a generous amount of chopped basil.

I used the food processor to partially chop the basil before I added the other ingredients, because I wanted finely chopped basil in the finished dish.

Here's how the white bean puree looked after I pureed the beans, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic. Decidedly short on looks, but long on flavor.

Julia Child's Puree of White Beans with Garlic and Herbs
(Makes about 2 cups, recipe slightly adapted from my only Julia Child Cookbook - From Julia Child's Kitchen.)

1 can white beans (recipe says garbanzo beans or black beans can also be used)
20 leaves fresh basil
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice (or more)
1/4 cup Tahini paste (or less, if you're not sure how much you like tahini)
2 tsp. minced garlic (or more)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T olive oil (plus more for drizzling on top if desired)
chopped parsley for garnish, optional (could also garnish with other herbs)

Empty the can of white beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse well with cold water and let drain at least 5 minutes.

While beans are draining, wash basil leaves, spin dry in salad spinner or dry with paper towels, then put basil in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.

Add beans, lemon juice, tahini paste, and minced garlic and process until beans are well pureed, about 1 minute. When mixture is blended, add olive oil through the feed tube, 1 T at a time. Taste mixture to see if you want more lemon juice, then season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and pulse a few times to mix in. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired, and serve with pita bread, veggies, or crackers.

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This recipe is my entry into the Julia Child Birthday Event, sponsored by Lisa from Champaign Taste. You have until August 13 to make a recipe from one of Julia's books and send to Lisa. Be sure to check her blog on August 15 to see what Julia Child recipes other bloggers have made.

South Beach Suggestions:
Canned white beans are a perfect low-glycemic food, and this dip alone would be suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Served with whole wheat pita bread or crackers, it would be phase 2 or 3 for South Beach. You could serve with celery, red bell pepper, or broccoli dippers for phase one. (I included this recipe with Christmas Recipes because I think it's flavorful enough to be a healthful holiday appetizer.)

More Recipes from Julia Child:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Cook Something Created or Inspired by Julia Child from BlogHer

Spaghetti Marco Polo from Kalyn's Kitchen

Beef Bourguignon from Simply Recipes

Julia Child's Waterzooi from Nami Nami

Julia Child's Cucumber Salad from A Veggie Venture

Julia Child's French Bread from Andrea's Recipes

Vegetable Crepe Torte from A Fridge Full of Food

Julia Child's 16 Hour Baked Beans from A Yankee in a Southern Kitchen

Julia Child's French Onion Soup from Daily Unadventures in Cooking

Online Recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
Blogging the Art of French Cooking is an amazing compilation of posts by bloggers, re-creating all the recipes from Julia Child's famous book, created by Whisk, A Food Blog.counter customizable free hit
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. I am loving this! I am sure the basil brings out a fabulous flavor. I will be trying this one soon! Thanks!

  2. I love white bean hummus- and with fresh basil, garlic and olive oil- so Italian. It would be delicious spread on a cooked pizza crust topped with a fresh spinach salad.

  3. My mother made this for years - so so so good. I had completely forgotten about it! Your version looks fantastic!

  4. Oh yeah! Julia does it again. I know this will be on the table soon.

  5. Gotta try white bean hummus. I've had it before at a tapas bar and it was delicious!

  6. Oh Kalyn this looks so delicious...
    thanks for the link to the Julia birthday blog event too- I will have to go through my JC books and come up with a dish for my blog- fun!

  7. What a wonderful take on hummus. I like the addition of hummus and, really, anything with tahini gets my vote. This recipe shows that Julia appreciated the simple recipes as much as the elaborate ones.

  8. I saw the movie last night, and can't wait to try some of her recipes again from my own copyof her book. This one's a keeper.

  9. Just came across your blog, I saw a free preview of the movie a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. I even bought Mastering the Art of French cooking. I started my own blog and I'm interested in participating in the Julia event so thanks for linking to it.

    This hummus looks delicious, I'm a big fan of hummus. I'll have to try Julia's version!

  10. That looks wonderful! I wonder how hard tahini was to find back then? I love the addition of basil.

  11. White bean puree is one of my favorite things to make, although I've always cooked it and served as a side dish. But I love this version - it sounds like a great no-cook dip perfect for a hot summer day.

  12. Deliciously simple - that's what I love about many of Julia's recipes. (And I'm dying to see the movie!)

  13. This looks great!
    Just be careful, "Brandade" means salt cod so if you are ever in a French restaurant be forewarned! :)

  14. This is the first Julia Child recipe I've seen around the blog world that has made me go OOOOH I want to make this! Perfect choice.

  15. Mmm, this sounds like something the kids and I would LOVE. I cannot wait to try it. I have some white beans just begging to be used too ...

  16. looks great! Julia is one of my heros! Now I want to blog something for her birthday!

  17. carole with an "e" in NYCAugust 12, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    Looks great. Thanks. I have all of Julia Child's cookbooks, I guess the reason I'm so chubby. She definitely was my idol and I cooked many of her wonderful recipes over the years. I always go back to her rabbit cooked in red wine, with prunes. Delicious. Happy Birthday Julia, RIP.

  18. I'm obsessively working on printer friendly recipes (all of 2009 done!) so I'm even worse than usual responding to comments. I do read and appreciate them though. Glad people are liking Julia's version of this; loved the basil flavor it in myself.

  19. This sounds like it would be great spread on a sandwich made with leftover chicken too. Thanks for the great recipe, Kalyn--and wasn't Julie & Julia fun?

  20. Hah! I'm sure most of Julia's recipes are anti-South Beach. Looks like you found a winner though!

  21. I have been reading your blog for weeks now after going back on south beach. You have inspired me with a lot of new dishes, and this one looks just as amazing. Thank you!

  22. This sounds really good. I have several Julia Child cookbooks and am looking forward to trying to cook from them soon.

  23. I really like the sound of a basil white bean hummus!

  24. Loving this, Kalyn! Thank God I have white beans in the pantry. :) I adore anything beany, and your puree looks amazingly good. Thank you so much for taking part in the celebration!

  25. What a beautiful dip. I just got some basil plants for my windowsill so I'll be trying this soon!


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