I have a weakness for interesting vegetables at the market. Sometimes it works out marvelously – like with fava beans this summer, or Brussels sprouts last winter. Sometimes it’s just unfortunate, and then we end up eating something weird because I feel guilty about wasting food, especially food that looked so interesting! I’m going to call tonight’s dinner a draw.
Tantré had these guys listed as Tongue of Fire beans – closely related to Cranberry beans or Borlotti beans, all of which are cultivars of the Cargamanto bean from South America. I just knew they were very pretty, and that fresh beans didn’t require quite as much work as their dried counterparts, though perhaps more work than their canned friends.
After scouring the net for a simple preparation, I hit on braising them, then serving over toast. One recipe called for up to 90 minutes and a quarter cup of olive oil. Another used canned beans and needed 10 minutes plus much less oil. Rancho Gordo was for once no help. I aimed for something in between.
I drizzled about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in our 3 quart enameled pot, then added a couple of cloves of minced garlic and the beans, shelled, rinsed, and cleared of debris. I tossed them around a bit, then added a couple of diced tomatoes and a cup or so of water, a bay leaf, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. On went the lid, and the pot simmered away for the better part of an hour. I stirred occasionally and added half a cup of white wine about halfway through. When the beans were soft and cooked through and the liquid almost gone, I killed the heat, warmed up some Italian bread, and served the lot as somewhat fancied up beans on toast with a bit of Ortiz tuna on the side.
A fine dinner – filling and with lots of protein – but not necessarily worth repeating. We ate it right up and had some bacon chocolate later.
Braised Cranberry Beans
Polenta with Tomato-Braised Beans from Cooking Light