In the food world, cranberry beans are Cinderella-at-the-Ball-until-Midnight.
You really have to appreciate the fleeting magenta-speckled loveliness of cranberry beans because, sadly, after you cook them, the streaky reddish-pink color disappears. Vanishes. Gone. But, just like Cinderella, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts.
Cranberry beans (aka supremo, borlotti or shelly beans) are packed with fiber: a half-cup serving will give you almost 40% of your daily need! They’re also loaded with protein, have few calories and NO fat.
If you find these beans in the farmers market, they should have a soft leathery pod on the outside and on the be moist and tender.
They’ve got a very subtle chestnut flavor and won’t overpower a dish. In fact, they’ll add a nice creamy succulence whether served hot or cold.
I cook them up for 30 minutes or so, cool them down and then serve them with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lemon on top of heirloom tomatoes. Yes.
The one downside to these beans is that you have to shell them (hence the name shelly beans), and that can be time-consuming. But, sit your kids down… tell them about Cinderella, and that midnight is approaching. Challenge them to shell as many as possible in 15 minutes… before the spell is broken. And watch the fun begin…
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