Recently I interviewed Krista Rome, who started the Backyard Beans and Grains Project on some farmland near Everson (see an article about that interview).
I purchased some cranberry beans from Krista to experiment with in my kitchen, and I asked her if she had any cooking tips to offer. When it comes to cooking with beans, Krista recommends keeping it simple. “Also,” she says, “don’t add salt or anything acid until the very end. It stops them from softening.”
Dried cranberry beans have beautiful color markings, though they lose most of their color when cooked. Here’s the recipe I created, keeping it simple as she suggested.
- 1 lb. dried cranberry beans (Backyard Beans and Grain Project, Everson)
- 1 Tbsp butter (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
- ½ cup shallots or onion, diced (Terra Verde Farm, Everson)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (Rabbit Fields Farm, Everson)
- ½ to 1 smoked cayenne pepper, crushed and minced (Rabbit Fields Farm, Everson)
- 1 tsp dried basil (Half Acre Farm u-pick, Ferndale)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (BelleWood Acres, Lynden)
- 2 tsp salt, or to taste
- Cover beans with water (about twice as much water as beans by volume). Put in the refrigerator and soak overnight.
- The next day, pour off the soaking water and add fresh water to cover beans at least an inch deep. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1-1/2 to two hours until beans are tender. Remove from heat and drain off liquid.
- In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and then saute the shallots or onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the smoked pepper and basil, and saute another minute or two to release their fragrances.
- Add the sauteed vegetables to the beans and mix well. Using a potato masher, partially mash the beans. Then add apple cider vinegar and salt and stir again.
Serve with a grain-based dish, such as triticale and mushrooms, and lots of sauteed greens for a healthy vegetarian meal.
Bellingham Farmers Market, Railroad at Chestnut, Bellingham
Community Food Co-op, Cordata and Westerly, Bellingham