Beans are awesome – they come in all sorts of shapes and colors. They are high in protein, fiber, and are incredibly versatile. These beans are one of my favorites, especially if I can find them fresh at my farmers market (during their very short availability).
These beautiful beans get their name from the color on their skins – creamy white splotched with a bright cranberry red color. They are tender and slightly sweet.
The beans are relatively easy to find dried and I use the same cooking method as below (just add some extra time). But when I am able to find them fresh, I fill the largest bag I have as many pods as possible. Usually, about half end up in the freezer after shelling and the other half get cooked and enjoyed all week.
I pulled out about 2 pounds of pods for this recipe, which yielded just under a pound shelled. Here they are in all their delicious and beautiful glory-ness!
This recipe is easily adaptable to your tastes. I enjoy making these so that the natural flavor of the beans shine through. And, simple preparation means that they pair well with a wider variety of meals making it perfect for batch cooking. This recipe also easily scales up or down.
Start by heating up a large glug of olive oil in a large pot. Add in a couple of smashed garlic cloves, a couple of teaspoons of kosher salt, a bay leaf, and the beans. Fill with water until the beans are submerged by about an inch.
Bring the water just barely to a boil then turn the stove all the way down to low. I will usually move the pot to the back burner that has a lower simmer temperature than my front burner.
Let the beans gently simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until tender while still holding their shape. Keep an eye on the water level and add a little more as needed to keep the beans submerged. The beans will lose their color as they cook, turning a dull brown color.
If using dried beans, either presoak them overnight and simmer for about 45 minutes or simmer from dried for about 4 hours (this is usually when I pull out the slow cooker!).
These beans make a perfect side for just about anything – rice, chicken, pasta, veggies, etc. Sometimes (ok, often!), I will eat a bowl of just the beans. I also suggest trying them on top of pasta with easy tomato sauce, in polenta bowls, on top of a salad, or as a side to roasted broccoli. Enjoy!