Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cranberry Beans


When my husband and I go to the farmer’s market we make it a priority to pick up some type of new, fun ingredient that is outside of our culinary comfort zone. The last couple times we picked up baby bok choy and squash blossoms. While I have eaten both of those in restaurants I did not have the faintest idea how to prepare them at home. I will admit that part of the fun for me is researching blogs and food websites to come up with a suiting recipe. The experiments have been both good and bad, but it always makes dinner a little more exciting.

That being said, this weekend’s market pick was cranberry beans. I was drawn to them because the coloring is very unusual. I didn’t find out until after the purchase that you lose the beautiful marbling to the cooking process, which got me thinking about some centerpieces, but that is a blog entry for a different day.

I chose a recipe from the Streaming Gourmet and set out to make some delicious Cranberry Beans with Garlic and Leeks. The beans give the dish a slightly nutty, creamy texture that is only enhanced by the garlic and leek flavor. The best part is that it is a perfect accompaniment to all the roasted meats that are so comforting in the fall and winter. To be honest, I find myself having portion control issues with mashed potatoes, risotto and polenta, so I couldn’t be happier to have a delicious fiber filled alternative.

Cranberry Beans with Garlic and Leeks
Serves 2
2 cups shelled, fresh Cranberry Beans
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups, 99% fat-free chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp chives, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
pepper to taste
1. Bring 6 cups of salted water to boil. Add beans and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in heavy-bottom medium sauce pan. Add leeks and sautée gently until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and sautée for 1 minute. Add cooked beans and stir to coat. Add broth, butter and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Add bay leaf and let cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring as needed. Add additional chicken stock to keep beans moist, if necessary.
3. While beans are cooking, mix grated lemon zest, chives and minced garlic in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the beans near the very end of the cooking time. Remove bay leaf, add fresh ground pepper to taste and enjoy.

No comments: