16 oz of dried beans, rinsed + picked through
2 white onions, peeled then halved + quartered
3 celery stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces
6 cloves of garlic, smashed + roughly chopped
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
6 cups of water
6 large pinches of salt
2 tbsp of black pepper
3 tbsp of smoked paprika
rinse and pick through the beans and set aside (no soaking needed for this recipe). chop the leeks (please use the entire leek, white + green parts) into 1 inch pieces, then soak in a bowl of cold water until needed at the end.
meanwhile, in a large dutch oven (or any heavy bottomed deep oven-safe dish) sautée the pancetta over a medium heat until the fat begins to render. add the paprika to bloom in the pancetta fat.
lower the heat to low, and add the dried beans to the pot along with the onions, garlic, celery, water, salt and pepper. these beans can take a lot of salt, so add directed amount to begin with but feel free to add more if needed. use your own judgement here!
cook the beans in a 375 degree oven for 2-2.5 hrs, checking every hour. beans should be firm but almost creamy on the inside. during the cooking time, add more water if needed. the water should always just cover the beans, for maximum brothy-ness! and be sure to check the broth for seasoning.
finally drain the cleaned leeks and stir into the pot of beans. return to the oven for another 30mins or until the leeks have wilted into the brothy beans. the beans should still be firm at this point but much more creamy on the inside.
serve in a bowl on their own or with a big piece of buttery crusty bread to mop up all of the brothy goodness. add some freshly cracked pepper over the top and a few small glugs of olive oil to finish.