Mediterranean Style Cranberry Beans
This Turkish dish is a staple. Prepared in a traditional Mediterranean style with lots of onions, tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil, it tastes fantastic, requires little effort, and is gobbled up by all. Cranberry Beans, also known as Borlotti beans in Italy, are close relatives to the kidney and pinto bean. They are called barbunya in Turkish. For this recipe, you can use pinto beans, as a dear friend of mine does, or if you like, try cannellini beans, which work beautifully as well. Serve it with pita bread or over steamed rice with a dollop of plain yogurt. Yum. You could even spice it up a bit with hot pepper flakes, if you like.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 pound (400g) of dried beans (these can be cranberry beans or any white bean, such as cannellini), soaked overnight
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley and lemon wedges to garnish
- Drain the beans that were soaking overnight. Put them in a pot and cover them with salt water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a low simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the beans are soft. You may need to add more water as the beans cook and be careful as the water tends to bubble up and overflow if the heat is too high. Leave the lid tilted open a little to prevent overflow.
- When the beans are cooked, drain them and set them aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cover with a lid, bringing to a light simmer. Cook gently for about 10-15 minutes, or until softened.
- Remove the onions and tomatoes from the heat and using a hand blender, puree the mixture roughly. You don’t want a smooth paste, but you want a nice chunky sauce.
- After blending, add the cooked beans and give a stir. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve garnished with chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon.
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