January 17, 2022

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Cranberry Beans with Warm Spices Recipe

4 min read

These cranberry beans with warm spices are not your ordinary legumes. Gently simmered with cinnamon and carrots in a white wine-infused broth then finished with lemon and fresh mint, they are a refined bowl of creamy comfort food.

A white bowl filled with cranberry beans with warm spices; a spoon along side

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen | Cook for Your Gut Health | America’s Test Kitchen, 2021

Pretty-pink and nutrient-dense cranberry beans have a more delicate flavor than pinto beans and are as creamy as cannellini beans; we wanted to highlight these special beans in a spiced side dish.

Eating more fiber can mean eating more beans for many, so it’s nice to embrace canned beans. But it’s also nice to take the time and care to perfect cooking dried beans. To help our cranberry beans cook up creamy and tender, we soak them overnight in salt water before thoroughly rinsing them to remove any excess salt.

We sauté carrots in aromatic garlic oil, along with tomato paste for depth of flavor; just a touch of cinnamon imparts a subtle sweet, warm spice. In addition to broth, we cook the beans in white wine for acidity, and letting them cook through in the gentle heat of the oven ensures that they are perfectly cooked without constant monitoring.

We complete our dish with lemon juice and mint, which nicely balance the warm, rich flavors of the beans. If cranberry beans are not available, you can substitute pinto beans. —America’s Test Kitchen

Cranberry Beans with Warm Spices FAQs

What are cranberry beans?

Originally from Colombia, cranberry beans also go by other names such as borlotti, Madeira, saluggia, and wren’s egg beans. Texturally, they’re delicate and creamy. Famous for their nutty flavor, cranberry beans work magic in cold-bean salads, hearty soups, and pastas. And they’re great in classic Greek, Italian, and Portuguese dishes.

Several red cranberry pods and dried red-speckled beans on a white piece of wood
: stocco.claudio.libero.it

How can I reheat these cranberry beans?

The best way to reheat beans is gently. Spoon the cold beans into a saucepan and splash in some chicken stock or water. Because beans are so starchy and thicken when refrigerated, they need liquid to loosen them. Warm the beans over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

How do I avoid, um, getting windy when eating beans?

It’s ok, you can say it: How do you avoid farting when eating beans? Good question. Beans cause gas because they contain sugars and fiber that we have a hard time digesting. When these sugars rumble with the bacteria naturally found in our large intestines, well, they rumble, causing you to fart. But that’s no reason to avoid them. Beans are a great source of plant-based protein and can help prevent some chronic diseases.

To lessen your discomfort, soak beans overnight–and discard the soaking water. Chew completely. (I know sounds weird, right?) The smaller the pieces, the more easily nutrients and fiber can be digested. Drink lots of water while eating. It keeps things moving along. And if all else fails, try digestive enzymes. They really do work. (From what I hear…or rather don’t hear.)

Cranberry Beans with Warm Spices

A white bowl filled with cranberry beans with warm spices; a spoon along side

We sauté carrots in aromatic garlic oil, along with tomato paste for depth of flavor; just a touch of cinnamon imparts a subtle sweet, warm spice. In addition to broth, we cook the beans in white wine for acidity, and letting them cook through in the gentle heat of the oven ensures that they are perfectly cooked without constant monitoring.

America’s Test Kitchen

Prep 30 mins

Cook 1 hr 15 mins

Total 9 hrs 45 mins

  • In a large bowl or container, dissolve salt in 4 quarts cold water. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain in a colander and rinse well.
  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil until shimmering. Add carrots and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  • Stir in wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Stir in broth, 1/2 cup of water, and beans and bring to boil.
  • Cover the Dutch oven, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are tender, about 1 hour, stirring after 30 minutes.

  • Stir in lemon juice and mint. Season with salt, pepper, and extra lemon juice, to taste. Adjust consistency with extra hot water as needed. Serve.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 278kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 38g (13%)Protein: 13g (26%)Fat: 8g (12%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 501mg (22%)Potassium: 847mg (24%)Fiber: 15g (63%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 2884IU (58%)Vitamin C: 3mg (4%)Calcium: 84mg (8%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published January 14, 2022

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