This bean goes by so many names: cranberry bean, shell bean or borlotti bean just to name a few. I prefer the name cranberry bean. It most captures the unique look of the gorgeous, mottled pods and the beauties that lie within. Sadly, they don’t retain their color when cooked, but they make up for their drab appearance with their creamy texture and nutty flavor – almost like chestnuts.
The following recipe is a very simple and delicious way to prepare these colorful beans. And, let’s face it, it has bacon! Is there anything that can’t be made better by the addition of bacon? Of course, if you want to keep this a bit on the healthier side, you could use turkey bacon or tofu bacon or – gasp! – omit the bacon altogether. Just add a tablespoon of olive oil to your pan in place of the bacon grease.
The recipe will serve about 6 people as a side dish. If you’re only feeding 2 or 3, though, you could easily serve it with a salad and have it as a main course.
- 2 cups shelled cranberry beans , from about 2 pounds unshelled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices of bacon, preferably thickly sliced
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place beans in a pot. Add just enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Add olive oil. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile place bacon in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, turning as needed, until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of fat, and pour off the rest.
- Return pan with bacon fat to medium-low heat. Add beans and rosemary to pan, sautéing about 5 minutes or until beans just begin to brown.
- Crumble bacon and add to pan along with lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.