specific dried beans for specific recipes?

emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)February 4, 2011

I've been trying to expand my bean horizons a bit, so I got the SSE eating bean sampler. In trying to figure out how to use them, I did a fair amount of searching for recipes that called for the specific varieties I received, and mostly came up short. Finally I ended up cooking up three different types for a big batch of chili. Pinto was just a bean, October was marvelously creamy-textured, and Dutch Brown was firm and somewhat nutty. So there are obviously some differences to account for here.

Do you find yourself preferring specific varieties of dried beans for specific recipes, or specific types of recipes? Or do you just find a few favorite beans and end up using them in a number of different applications?


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I live in the southwest, and pinto beans, black beans, and red beans are common in a lot of dishes. Less common, but historically used in this area are bolitas and a host of locally-grown beans (see the link)

I'm not a fan of pinto or bolita beans, too beany for me. Around here they are usually cooked with onions, garlic, and sometimes green chile as a side dish (not soup), which makes them palatable. ;-) They are both an ugly color when cooked, though.

Red beans are common in Texas-style chile, and I use them in a Portugese kale soup, too. They hold their shape well, have good color, and good flavor on their own or with red chile.

Black beans are cooked as a side dish like the pintos, and we eat them in soup and other dishes. They have a neutral flavor, similar to red beans but a bit firmer. Again, they hold their shape well, and as a side dish they are a lovely dark color, but in other dishes they color everything else a dingy dark.

Finally, my last commonly used beans are cooked dried butter (lima) beans, in a Tuscan style bean and sausage soup. The beans hold their shape, barely, but are creamy and soft and delicious. I also marinate the cooked beans in a tomato vinagrette and serve them as a salad. Yummy!

So, yes, I do prefer specific dried beans for specific recipes. Part of it is taste and texture, but part is also what the beans look like on the plate or in the bowl.


Here is a link that might be useful: Native Seeds/SEARCH

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:57PM
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