BERKELEY (KCBS) – Fresh cranberry beans are plentiful in the markets now. Even if you have to go to a specialty grocer, it shouldn’t be hard to find them in late fall and early winter. I’ve also seen black-eyed peas, crowder peas and cannellini beans this time of year.
The Chilean cranberry bean casserole here, called Porotos Granadas, is very simple to make and quite delicious. It’s traditionally served with a salsa called Pebre, but you can use any kind of hot sauce or salsa of your own making.
If fresh cranberry beans are available, about 3 pounds in the pod should yield four cups of shelled beans. The same is true for cannellini beans. If you use, black-eyed peas, purple hull peas or crowder peas, those will weigh about 2½ pounds in the pod.
KCBS Food and Wine Editor Narsai David:
Narsai’s Chilean Cranberry Casserole, or Porotos Granadas
2 cups dried cranberry beans
6 cups water
2 TBS olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp basil leaves
1½ tsp red pepper flakes
1½ tsp salt
1 pound of winter squash, peeled and cut in 3/8” dice
2 ears of corn, cut and scraped (or 2 cups frozen)
First, we want to de-gas the beans.
If you’re using fresh cranberry beans, drop them into boiling water for two minutes, then let it rest for a half-hour off the heat. Then drain it, throw away that liquid, add fresh liquid and cook until the beans are tender. With dried cranberry beans, it’s very simple. Drop them in boiling water, boil them for two minutes and let them rest for a whole hour.
While the beans sit, the components that cause gas in the gut dissolve in the liquid. When you drain them, away goes about 85 percent of the gas without diminishing any of the beans’ nutritional value.
Once drained, add fresh water and simmer the beans until they’re barely tender. While they’re simmering, heat the oil and sauté the onion until it’s translucent. Then add garlic, basil, pepper and salt. Stir that well and add it to the bean pot, then add the squash and corn. Keep everything simmering until the squash is tender, and serve with Pebre or another salsa.
Narsai’s Chilean Pebre (Salsa)
½ bunch green onions, minced (including the tops)
½ small bunch cilantro, stemmed and minced
1 fresh Anaheim chili, with seeds, minced
½ small white onion or red onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS wine vinegar
salt to taste
Stir all the ingredients together.
Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53 a.m., 12:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., and at 2:53 a.m. Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
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