Cranberry Beans - The Gingered Whisk

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cranberry Beans


Usually when I take a trip to the Farmers Market I go just to peruse and bring home whatever grabs my fancy, and cook around that. But the other day I went for something specific. Well, not so much specific as I went with a purpose to find a vegetable to eat for dinner that night.  That is where I spied these beautiful beans!

The lady at the stall said that they were called "heritage beans" or sometimes "christmas beans". They looked so beautiful that I just had to have them. When I asked her how she usually cooked them she was suuuuper vague - "shell them, and cook them". Ok, thanks for the help, Lady! She must not have been selling a lot of them, because even though I asked her for half a container of them, she gave me two containers for the price of one. When I got home I immediately sent out a cry for help on twitter (that went unanswered - thanks a lot guys! :) ) and spent a good chunk of my nap time-free time trying to figure out what the heck to do with these beans. Turns out, they are actually called Borlotti beans, and sometimes Cranberry beans, and are used a lot in Italian cooking.


I kind of made up my own recipe for these, and am really pleased with how they turned out! If you see these beans in your local market, I recommend you try them!


Cranberry Beans
1 pound cranberry beans, shelled and washed
1 small white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried sage leaves
1 can chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp butter

Shell and wash your beans.
In a large pot, melt the butter, and sauté your onion and garlic until the onion is opaque.
Add the beans, and season with a dash of salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of dried sage leaves.
Pour in enough stock to cover the beans and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft.
As the beans cook, you can add more stock or even water to the pot if needed, or even a splash of white wine would be good.

*Oh, and I really think this dish would be awesome with a bit of bacon thrown in... Mmm...bacon makes everything better!

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