Monday, August 29, 2011

What's Cookin?: (Meatless Monday) Slow Cooked Borlotti Beans

Since I harvested my Borlotti Beans, they were still fresh. I love how pretty these beans are. I believe they are also called Cranberry Beans. It was my first year growing these so I was unsure how to cook them fresh. I had planned on trying them for soups in the winter.

I searched the internet for recipes using fresh borlotti or cranberry beans and found some that slow cooked them in the oven. I tweaked this recipe a bit. I didn't have any fresh sage leaves so I used some dried ones. I think fresh would have been a lot more fragrant. I believe this is an Italian recipe. It is wonderful!

I'll have to grow more of these beans next year. Forget drying them. They're so good fresh! It's hard to describe what they taste like. They're a really hearty bean. When cooked they have a nice starchy feel to them. They cook up to a texture in between a potato and a dried bean. They're very tasty in this recipe. I love how the beans are infused with the tomatoes, sage and garlic.

If you can't find fresh Borlotti beans and want to try this with dried beans, you can. It'll just take longer to cook. Soak dried beans overnight, drain them and then proceed with the recipe. You'll need to cook the beans for an additional 30-45 minutes.

Slow Cooked Borlotti Beans
Serves 4

1 lb. fresh borlotti, shelled
about 2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
water to cover the beans
1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
3 ripe Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of fresh sage (or a palmful of dried)
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
sea salt

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2) Place the borlotti beans in a small baking pan. Drizzle the beans with extra virgin olive oil and pour water over the beans to just cover them. Add the garlic, tomatoes, sage and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle generously with sea salt.
3) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes or until the beans are tender to the bite.