Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cranberry Beans with Browned Garlic

I've been flirting with the idea of eating less animals and more plants for a long time. That doesn't mean that I will campaign for strictly vegetarian or vegan, but I would not feel totally okay writing about this if I omit that something changed in my lifestyle after watching Forks over Knives.

Having said that, I am now happy to tell you about my renewed love for beans. Black beans are a longtime a favorite here. Kidney beans have always been in spicy and beautiful chili con carne dishes. Even fresh string beans are always on my mind when I need to add more greens to any plate. They are all loaded with protein and fiber and lots of iron.  But nothing compares to the uniqueness of fresh cranberry beans. I found them when I went to my favorite local farmer's market, Old Mac Donald's. They caught my eye because of their bright color and curious name.

Please give it a chance even if you are not so attracted by the idea of beans. These are especially flavorful, have nutty and sweet notes and perfect texture if cooked al dente. They will lose their beautiful spots during the cooking, but will gain lots of flavor. Most kids will try it and at least will have fun opening the shells just to find the beauty of each bean, like pearls in a shell. Their season is at its end, so if you are lucky to find them in your farmer's market, here's a simple and delicious way of enjoying them.

Cranberry Beans with Garlic

4 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound cranberry beans, unshelled
Enough water to cover the beans
Kosher salt to taste
Oregano to taste
Zest of half a lemon

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add garlic and bay leaves, lower heat to medium, and brown them lightly. Add beans and sauté with the garlic for a few minutes. Add water. Cover pot and simmer for about 25 minutes or up to when the beans are soft enough, but not mushy.

Open pan and add oregano and lemon zest to finish, cooking about 5 minutes more over low heat with the pot uncovered. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.


Myrna said...

Wow, I never knew that there were cranberyy beans! I liked the recipy, it is like my grandma used to cook black beans. I will search for those special beans and will try them. Beans are among the healthiest things one can eat!

Anna said...

Myrna, after some reading I found that they are the Borlotti Beans, a favorite staple from Tuscany, Italy. You can find them dry in some specialty stores.


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