In the Basque region of France they don't soak their beans, they slowly braise them with just water, salt and olive oil. Time and heat to transform even the dense beans from dry to creamy masterpieces. I've started experimenting with this method for different varieties of beans and the results are spectacular. It brings out all of the natural flavor of these heirloom varieties and delivers unsurpassed texture, all it takes is a little patience. You can add a few peppers, a cedar branch or a bay leaf to the pot for a little added je ne sais quoi or stick to the basics for the purest essence of the bean.

The biggest variable in this process is the cooking time. Some beans are more dense and will take 3 or more hours to cook from dry, but some will take just an hour or two on the stove. I started with the spectacular Cranberry Beans from Doudlah Farms which are creamy and give off a scrumptious bean broth you'll want to slurp up. They were so fresh that in under just over an hour they were creamy perfection sitting in a bath of mouthwatering broth.

  • 1 pound Cranberry Beans or any heirloom bean
  • 6 Cups Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Rinse one pound of cranberry beans or any other heirloom bean and put in a thick bottom pot or dutch oven. Traditionally they are cooked in a clay pot.  Add 6 cups of water, salt and a generous pour of good olive oil. I like to add a few chili peppers like the Yahualica Chili Peppers
  2. Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 hours until silky and soft. NEVER stir the beans ever or they will break. You can gently shake the pot to check the water level from time to time but no stirring at all. Keep a kettle nearby with warm water in it and add from time to time as needed to keep the beans submerged.
  3. After they are done cooking allow to cool for 20 minutes so that the broth can thicken in to a delicious stew.

 

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