Many of you requested recipes for ways to cook beans after I posted about scoring some local dried heirloom beans the day before yesterday. So I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.
I really like to eat beans as a sauce over rice more than any other way, but a hearty bean soup is also wonderful. I grew up in South America, where beans are a staple, eaten almost every meal. Probably my favorite beans are Frijoles Antioqueños – traditional food eaten throughout the country of Colombia. Generally you use bola roja beans, but those are difficult to come by here in the U.S., so you can substitute small red beans or kidney if you’d like (small red beans are more similar in texture to the Colombian beans). Colombian food is not like Mexican food, the spices are not as pronounced. They use a tiny bit just to add a little flavor, so these beans are very mild.
Frijoles Antioqueños (Antioquian Beans)
2 pounds bola roja beans (or small red or kidney beans)
4 slices chopped bacon or 1/2 lb piece of salt pork
2 green plantains, finely chopped
1 T. salt
2 T. olive oil oil
4 small tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 chopped onions
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 t. of cumin if desired
Pepper to taste
Wash beans and soak overnight. Place beans and bacon or salt pork in pot and cover with water. Cook for a couple hours or until tender (depends of what kind of beans you use). Add plantains and cook until soft. Add salt and mix well. In a separate pan sauté tomatoes, onions and garlic until soft and add to beans. Cook for another half an hour until all flavors have blended. These beans taste even better on the following day! Enjoy served with white rice.
They’re traditionally served as part of a Bandeja Paisa which includes: spiced ground beef, white rice, chicharrón (fried pork rinds), a fried egg, arepas (cornmeal cakes), avocado slices, chorizo (sausage) and fried green plantains.
I was going to make a bean soup with the “Jade” beans, but I decided instead to make braised beans as a side for some roasted chicken. They were fantastic, so I decided to share the recipe with you. These beans ended up being a lot like cannellini beans, so those would be a good substitute, or perhaps a smaller white bean like navy beans.
Braised White Beans
1 lb dried large white beans
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 strips of thick cut bacon – diced
1 large white onion – diced
3 cloves garlic – diced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup white wine
1 quart chicken stock
3 strips lemon peel (without pith)
2 bay leaves
fresh rosemary sprig
fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup grated hard cheese (like Parmesan or Romano)
salt & pepper to taste
Add beans to a large stock pot and cover with a few quart of water, add vinegar and allow to sit overnight or for 24 hours. Drain. Return beans to pot, add a few more quarts of water and simmer for a few hours or until soft.
Dice bacon and add to large pot. Cook for a few minutes and add diced onion, cook for a few minutes and add garlic. When onions and garlic are soft, add sage and some freshly ground pepper along with a teaspoon of salt. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add white wine to deglaze pan, stir to pick up all bits stuck to bottom of pan. Add chicken stock and boil for a few minutes. Drain beans and add to stock along with lemon peel, thyme, rosemary and a Tablespoon or two of lemon juice if desired. Simmer for an hour or until liquid reduces to a thick sauce and beans are soft and starting to fall apart. Remove stems from thyme and rosemary and bay leaves. If desired remove lemon peels and dice, add back to sauce. If you don’t want a ‘lemony’ flavor remove completely.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed, stir in cheese and serve warm. Delicious served alone as a side to chicken or serve with rice and a meal.
Lentils are perhaps one of my most favorite kind of bean. They’re quick and easy to cook, they don’t really require overnight soaking like most other beans. I love all different kinds of lentils from big brown ones, to tiny black ones and all the colors in between. These French green lentils are simply stunning!
Sausage Lentil Soup
1 pound of Italian sausage (I like hot Italian, chicken sausage works well also)
2 medium onions (cut to desired size)
5 carrots (cut to desired size)
1-2 cups chopped celery (cut to desired size)
(I usually use equal parts onions/carrots/celery)
5 cloves of garlic
2 T Olive oil
a mix of Italian spices to taste (whatever you prefer): (oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, sage, black pepper, fennel)
2 cups lentils (regular brown or french green)
1 cup small black lentils (if you can’t find these add more brown or omit if you like a brothier soup)
2 quart jars of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
water if needed
1 quart of diced tomatoes
a few handfuls of fresh spinach or other greens if desired
Add sausage and olive oil to pan and slightly cook, then add chopped onions, carrots & celery cook until softened (You can cover pot if you want). Add garlic and spices (I usually add a teaspoon or two of oregano and some fennel, lots of red pepper, a good amount of black pepper and some sage). Cook for a minute or two and add brown and green lentils and chicken stock. Simmer for several hours until lentils are almost done (will be less if using French green lentils), then add small black lentils, tomatoes, greens and water if needed, cook until black lentils are finished. Then salt to taste and adjust spices if needed. Serve with freshly grated Romano cheese and a drizzle of fresh olive. Tastes best accompanied by crusty bread!
This red lentil soup is amended from a dal recipe. It’s got a wonderful middle-eastern flavor that’s really exotic. I love the color, it sure brightens up the table. The flavor of the toasted cumin seeds is not as harsh as ground cumin, so don’t be afraid of using them (I usually double the amount in the recipe). You can spice it up more if you like hot food by adding some red curry paste or some more cayenne (ground or in flakes).
Curried Red Lentil Soup
1 C. red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained
3 C. water
1 large tomato, cut into 8 wedges (or 8 oz. diced canned tomato)
1/4 C. olive oil or ghee
1/2 t. cumin seeds
1 medium onion (yellow or red), finely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. cayenne (or less if you like it milder)
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 T. butter
3/4 t. salt (or to taste)
1 can of coconut milk
1 pint of chicken stock
Place lentils, tomato (if using fresh tomato, if using canned add later) and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered until lentils are tender and have lost their shape, about 40 minutes (begin checking that there is still water in the pot at 30 minutes and add small batches of water as needed). Pick out any tomato skins and whisk to break up the lentils. Keep warm over low heat.
Make the tadka (Indian spice prep) as follows:
Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat when oil is hot, add cumin seeds. After seeds have stopped sputtering, add the garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until most of the onion has turned brown, 5-10 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric, and cayenne, stir, and pour the onion/spice mixture over the dal. Add the butter tomato (if using canned), (cilantro/parsley), and salt to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes.
If eating as a soup add coconut milk and enough chicken broth to reach desired consistency. If eating over rice you can still add coconut milk or omit, whatever you like. Serve hot. I like to serve with naan (Indian flatbread).
If you have a great bean recipe post it on you blog and link to it below. Or add your recipe in the comment section. I’d love to try some of your favorites!
More Bean Recipes to Try:
White Bean Rosemary Soup by Ina Garten. If you like rosemary you’ll love this soup, it’s simple and delicious.
Parker’s Split Pea Soup from Barefoot Contessa. This soup is really great if you like split peas. It’s such a great color as well.
White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Dip from Smitten Kitchen. I’ve made this several times to take to parties. It’s always a hit. I’m not a huge fan of roasted red peppers and I love this!
101 Cookbooks – has tons of great bean recipes. She specializes in healthy vegetarian foods.
Refrigerator Soup Bean Recipes
Williams Sonoma Bean Recipes