HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What are you cooking today?
TELL US

beans are boring!

b
bonber Oct 23, 2007 02:01 PM

rice and beans- done too much lately

what else is there?

i have a can of every kind of bean imaginable in the cupboard and don't want to do the usual- chili- rice& beans- bean salad- soup

  1. TdotFoodKing Oct 23, 2007 02:23 PM

    Heres a few:
    make your own baked beans
    Hummus (chick peas)
    Falafel (chick peas)
    Bean soup (ministrone, or black bean, or navy bean) oh you said soup- oh well
    Pannelle - chickpea fritters
    Pasta e fagioli

    1. jeni1002 Oct 23, 2007 02:44 PM

      - bean moussaka (borlotti beans are the best for this recipe)

      - white bean dip with garlic, onions and the herb of your choice

      - bean salads can be versatile, lots of possibilities - not sure if you are giving up on the concept or a given repertoire.

      1. m
        MakingSense Oct 23, 2007 02:56 PM

        Boring??? Today is Monday! It's Red Beans and Rice Day in New Orleans! Has been for generations. The whole city eats Red Beans and Rice at home or in restaurants EVERY Monday. It's on all the menus from the top places to the dives. Even Popeyes's offers it all over the country with their fried chicken - seven days a week.
        My kids used to ask "What's for dinner?" and I asked back "What day is it?" When they said "Oh, Monday!!!!" they knew that we were having Red Beans and Rice.
        Now that I'm an Empty Nester, I make a double batch and they stop by for a big container of Mom's Red Beans to take to their own homes for supper. They're on their own for the rice and green salad. The tradition lives!!
        Nothing boring about Red Beans and Rice.

        4 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense
          b
          bonber Oct 23, 2007 03:26 PM

          obviously i don't make beans and rice as well as you do! :)

          care to share the mom's red beans recipe?

          1. re: bonber
            m
            MakingSense Oct 23, 2007 04:53 PM

            Embarrassingly simple. First, you need fresh dried beans. Lots of beans sit on market shelves for too long and get too dried out so they never cook well. I get a couple shipments a year from my sister in New Orleans of Camellia brand. The turnover in NOLA is really high since everyone eats so many there and they're always fresh. Second, I use the quick-soak method of boiling and then letting the beans sit for an hour covered before throwing out that water and then cooking. The beans soften more evenly. Cooks Illustrated also did one of their super-OCD tests and said there were fewer of the gassy compounds left in beans soaked this way - seems to be true.
            I use a simple mirepoix of onion, celery, green pepper and garlic, sautéed usually in some bacon drippings. Bay leaf and thyme. Black and cayenne pepper. No salt because it toughens the beans and you can add it after they're cooked. A meaty ham bone or some chunks of ham. Then add the soaked beans and fresh water to cover well. Simmer until the beans are done to your liking. If you want creamy liquid, you can squash a few of them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. I remove the bone and ham chunks and shred the meat which I return to the pot. Adjust the seasonings and add salt to taste. We serve with chopped raw onion.
            Most places in New Orleans use plain white rice. I always did until some years ago when I served brown rice to my father, a Cajun, because I was out of white rice. He said it was just like the rice that they used when he was young and lived in the country before rice was so refined as it is now. Hey, I figured it was probably more "authentic," so I've been using brown rice ever since and we really like it better. His Cajun family never used andouille and neither did most people I knew in New Orleans or in the country. If we had company, I sometimes did use some kind of sausage (similar to kielbasa) or added pork chops. We always have plain green salad with an oil and vinegar dressing.
            Many people in New Orleans make red bean soup with leftovers by puréeing some beans, leaving some as-is, and thinning it out with chicken stock.

            1. re: MakingSense
              c
              Captain Oct 24, 2007 08:03 AM

              I had a recipe that came to me second hand from Dulac, Louisiana, through a fellow Captain. The one from MakingSense is pretty close to it. It would use a kielbasa-like sausage, but never anything like andouille, and it called for adding strips of bacon.

              You can take that recipe and adapt it for all different kinds of beans and change the meats you add to it. get some inexpensive chorizo, take out the celery and maybe the pepper, and make it with black beans, using a longer soak. Change to a smoked turkey leg and make it with dried limas.

              As far as fresher beans, I doubt I have ever had them.

              1. re: MakingSense
                chowser Oct 24, 2007 08:36 AM

                This is great in the crockpot, too. I don't use green peppers (doesn't sit well with me) but use carrots in the mire poix. Chunky bacon is always good. Don't crucify me for not being authentic! I make rice in the rice cooker. There's nothing like coming home at 6 or 7 to that great smell and a dinner ready to eat. I find a meaty ham bone works better to flavor the beans than just ham (which I will add before serving, if I have time).

          2. malenky Oct 23, 2007 03:00 PM

            I always keep a great variety of beans on hand. I make a couscous salad with different beans all the time. I usually just add in a bunch of veggies (red onion, cucumber, tomato, marinated artichokes, zuchinni, red bell pepper) with feta and the beans, a little vingerrette and it is wondeful. I also make a variety of patties with them. I'll cook down the beans with red onion and chipotles and puree them and then mix with egg and bread crumbs and cook them and serve with salsa and sour cream.

            1. lynnlato Oct 23, 2007 03:40 PM

              Fried black bean cakes... YUM!!! Black bean soup too. Okay, now I'm hungry for beans.

              1. kare_raisu Oct 23, 2007 04:18 PM

                Have you ever had pasta e fagiole? Italian bean soup - my favorite dish my nona makes me.

                Its Simple:
                1. Soak white beans (navy traditionally - but I used Maycoba or Peruano yesterday in mine and tasted just as wonderful.)
                2. Cook with plenty of water and chopped shallot or onion.
                3. Once cooked - season.
                4. In a seperate pan, heat oo, add bacon or pork pieces. Fry and remove.
                5. Add chopped shallot, garlic, dried red chile or flakes, dried herbs and fry - add tomato paste to make sofrito.
                6. Puree beans to desired consistency.
                7. Fry bean paste into sofrito.
                8. Add broth to thin.
                9. Cook any small noodle - orzo, little butterflies, fideos etc. add to soup ( I cheat by cooking mine in boiling bean broth - it simultaenously thickens soup.)
                10. Add minced parsley, your crumbled bacon & hot sauce to taste upon serving (if you can resist -let rest one night in the cooler.)

                I swear to you -best tasting simple dish in history.

                1. c
                  cocktailhour Oct 23, 2007 04:30 PM

                  refried beans, tacos, nachos (see a theme?).

                  1. jnstarla Oct 23, 2007 05:51 PM

                    Make a vegetarian cassoulet - this is one of my favorite winter recipes:

                    http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/heal...

                    1. katydid13 Oct 23, 2007 06:43 PM

                      As a tasty vegetarian main dish, I often do this recipe: 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained; 5-6 cloves garlic, minced; lemon juice from one lemon; water.

                      Heat about 2 T. olive oil in a medium skillet. Add garlic and saute till it starts to turn golden brown. Add beans, stir, then add about 1/4 c. water, stir. Cover and simmer about 5 min. Stir, then mash about 1/2 the beans with the back of a large spoon to thicken mixture; simmer another 5 min. till thick. Stir in lemon juice & simmer 2-3 minutes.

                      Of course, this can be expanded as necessary. Simple, easy, really tasty. Great accompaniments are kebocha squash or a sweet potato. I sometime steam some Brussels sprouts as well.

                      1. DiveFan Oct 23, 2007 06:49 PM

                        - Slow cooked pinto beans (not canned), perhaps with a little sofrito and a pinch of cumin, are wonderful simplicity. They make a superior bean and cheese burrito or a side dish for almost anything.

                        - Paul Prudhomme's red beans and rice recipe http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4835693 is hard to beat (sorry MakingSense, today is Tuesday :-); the secret ingredient is a smoky HAM HOCK.

                        - Garbanzos and swiss chard (or other greens) is amazing! Daisy Martinez has a good recipe: http://www.daisycooks.com/pages/recipes_detail.cfm?ID=28 Ham hock also preferred here.

                        - Lentil salad is simple and refreshing especially on a hot day like here in SoCal: http://life-eos.blogspot.com/2007/10/lentil-salad.html

                        - Western Meal In One is a classic 1950's casserole: http://life-eos.blogspot.com/2007/10/...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DiveFan
                          m
                          MakingSense Oct 23, 2007 08:16 PM

                          No harm, no foul. The author of that Red Beans and Rice story lives in my neighborhood and so does Marguerite Kelly whose recipe she gives. Much better than Prudhomme's. Go for it!

                        2. litchick Oct 23, 2007 07:16 PM

                          Saute some chopped onions in a pot or dutch oven with olive oil and chopped garlic until soft and fragrant (I also like to add anchovy paste at this step). Add a can of drained white beans (cannelini, great northern, whatever), a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of white wine, and about 1/2c. of chicken stock. Season with s&p, and simmer over medium/low heat for 10 or 15 minutes, until liquid reduces and the beans are only a little brothy/soupy. Add juice of half a fresh lemon, finely chopped rosemary (to taste), and adjust the s&p to your tastes.

                          I also change this up. While keeping the white wine/lemon/chicken broth/garlic/onion combo constant, I'll swap in red pepper flakes & smoked chipotle; paprika; herbs de provence; fresh sage; ras al hanout; chopped tomatoes; etc; as the major flabor/herb agents. It's a very easy recipe to tweak, and takes nearly no time to make.

                          This can be a really nice side dish, or if you want to make it a main, you can add shredded chicken or nice canned tuna packed in olive oil.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: litchick
                            oakjoan Oct 23, 2007 08:45 PM

                            I recently ordered some dried beans on the internet from a local (Napa) grower (Rancho Gordo). Their website says over and over that fresh beans REALLY make a difference. I tried the scarlet runner beans last week and they were magnificent.

                            The website says that you can saute onions and garlic (I used a lot of both), add the beans and water (after soaking or not - if you have more time) to the pot and just barely simmer until they're tender. The taste of these beans is just wonderful. I put in NO ham hocks or any other flavoring meat.

                            After they were cooked (They're big suckers), I put them in a casserole dish along with the onions and garlic they'd cooked in, stirred in some crumbled feta cheese, and topped them with some breadcrumbs mixed with a bit of grated pecorina Romano and baked them for about 20 minutes in a 375 deg. oven covered in foil. After 20 mins. I turned up the heat to 400 and baked them for another 5 minutes or so. They turned out very well.

                            The moral is that I didn't really believe that beans can be really different and great when fresh and from a reliable grower.

                            1. re: oakjoan
                              m
                              MakingSense Oct 23, 2007 09:16 PM

                              Freshness makes a major difference. People ignore that believing that dried is dried. Wrong!!! Beans keep drying out and they deteriorate in quality.
                              I found some cannelinis recently in the back of the pantry and cooked them, not realizing how old they were. And cooked them and cooked them and cooked them. They never got to a decent texture and they tasted awful. I finally pitched the entire batch.
                              Always, always buy from a good source with a high turnover. Pay more for good quality. Dried beans aren't that expensive for what you get out of them. Good beans are worth the money.

                              1. re: oakjoan
                                Eat_Nopal Oct 24, 2007 10:16 AM

                                In addition to fresh beans... another thing that makes a big difference is using a clay pot versus metals... augments the earthy flavors.. and rounds them out.

                                No one has mentioned Oaxacan style Bean Sauce... I posted a recipe on this board. You can adjust the texture from a thick paste for spreading... to a thin sauce... the combination of black beans with anisey avocado leaves is stupendous... and can be used to liven up a grilled fish, chicken... pair with a luscious steak, as a sauce for Enchiladas (aka Enfrijoladas), Chilaquiles or even Pasta. Goes really nice with some Raviolis stuffed with stinky cheese.

                                1. re: oakjoan
                                  c
                                  ChrissieH Oct 30, 2007 09:00 AM

                                  I know exactly what you mean. I´ve got some really good bean recipes that I´ve always used to cook the average bag of store-bought beans. But you never know how long those beans have been lying around in that bag. I think it´s often even a year or more from the time they were picked until the time I brought home that bag. I also ordered from Rancho Gordo, and was stunned at the difference freshness makes. In fact, I don´t usually waste their beans with a "recipe." I´ve found that just cooking them with a little salt and garlic is all you need.

                                  1. re: ChrissieH
                                    Eat_Nopal Oct 30, 2007 01:08 PM

                                    A year? That would be stellar. Try 4 to 10 years on average.

                                    1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                      m
                                      MakingSense Oct 30, 2007 02:51 PM

                                      4 to 10 years? That's an interesting statistic. Where did you get that from?

                                      Most of the beans I buy are pretty good, depending on the variety and where I buy them. They're always really fresh if you get them from a vendor like Rancho Gordo or someplace where people use lots of dry beans.

                                      1. re: MakingSense
                                        Eat_Nopal Oct 30, 2007 04:53 PM

                                        USDA presentation at last year's California League of Food Processors presentation. They talked about trying to convince the Chinese & Japanese to eat beans.... in describing the process... most bean processors (of the major commercialized varieties... Kidney, Pinto, Navy etc.,) usually have 3 Crop Years worth in their silos... so average U.S. beans don't even get packaged until 3 years after harvest... then you can imagine how long it takes them to get through the market... specially when you think of all the dusty bags sitting at your chain supermarkets.

                                  2. re: oakjoan
                                    carswell Oct 30, 2007 02:56 PM

                                    Rancho Gordo rules. The main website www.ranchogordo.com seems to be out of commission (temporarily, let's hope). There's also a blog http://ranchogordo.typepad.com/

                                    And, yes, freshness makes a big difference in flavour and especially texture. The packaging for French dried beans is usually stamped with the harvest date or a best before date. Would that North American producers followed the practice.

                                  3. re: litchick
                                    GretchenS Oct 24, 2007 02:48 PM

                                    I make a recipe like litchik's (using anchovies) and add blanched Swiss chard -- yummy! The squeeze of lemon juice takes it to a different level. I make it at least once a week in the winter and never tire of it. I'm going to ring some of those changes though, they sound great!

                                  4. w
                                    wineaux Oct 23, 2007 08:56 PM

                                    After dining at a Greek restaurant last week and trying Revithia soup (greek chickpea soup with dill), the first thing I did when we got home was to look up various recipes for this delicious soup. I made a batch on Sunday.... so easy & good! I think the key to a good version is using dried beans vs. canned and adding dill (some recipes don't call for the dill.

                                    1. mariekeac Oct 23, 2007 09:54 PM

                                      I remember this recipe from Giada with an Arugula salad topped with sauteed prosciutto & Cannellini beans, was very tasty!!
                                      you can also make chilli.... with mashed potatoes, best combo ever!!!
                                      you say you're sick of rice & beans, but there are so many different ways of making it!! I like to make it with andouille sausage, mmmm

                                      1. k
                                        Kagey Oct 24, 2007 05:48 AM

                                        White beans and chorizo are a match made in heaven. Cut chorizo into pieces, render the fat in a pan, remove chorizo. In the rendered fat, saute onion, garlic, and, if you like, carrot and celery, maybe some hot chili. Thyme works well here. Cook till vegetables are soft, then deglaze with some white wine or vermouth. Add beans (soaked and cooked, or canned). Cook till warmed through, then return chorizo to the pan. Or add some sort of green (kale is nice), wait till it's done, then return chorizo to the pan. Serve with good bread.

                                        I also like to cook white beans with a slow-cooked lamb dish (lamb shanks, maybe). That's done in a heavy, lidded pot almost like a pot roast. Beans turn out rich and delicious.

                                        1. m
                                          MakingSense Oct 24, 2007 08:31 AM

                                          The only problem with some of the recipes given here is they don't take into account just how many varieties of beans there are. There are hundreds if not thousands in the US alone, few of which actually are available in supermarkets. Even if a recipe say "white beans," how do you know which one? There are several white bean varieties commonly available and they taste pretty different.
                                          Look at this from Texas A&M on just local types of "peas" which are actually beans. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ex... More than 50 types found in Texas alone.

                                          Different beans really do taste different. Some are very light, others hearty and meaty. Some sweet, others starchy. Don't use the same basic method or ingredients all the time. Beans are never boring.

                                          1. chowser Oct 24, 2007 11:18 AM

                                            You can also go with dessert beans:

                                            Red bean soup dessert:
                                            http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaidesserts/r/beandessert.htm

                                            sago dumplings:
                                            http://www.dessert.net.au/sago-dumplings-with-red-bean-paste/

                                            bean paste puff:
                                            http://sakura-lovebaking.blogspot.com...

                                            I just like to boil adzuki or mung beans in water w/ rock sugar, orange rind and eat hot or cold. Or, frozen like a popsicle.

                                            1. revsharkie Oct 24, 2007 11:22 AM

                                              Once when I was strapped for cash, I made a big batch of polenta with garlic and parmesan cheese (the kind that comes pre-shredded in a plastic bag, not the expensive stuff), and a pot of lentils, well-salted with some onions cooked in. I sliced the chilled polenta and fried it a little in olive oil, then topped it with the lentils. I might have been unemployed and broke, but I thought I was in Fat City eating that.

                                              1. carswell Oct 30, 2007 03:07 PM

                                                Macella Hazan's books, especially the later ones, have some wonderful bean recipes. Probably my favourites are the lamb stew in *Marcella's Italian Kitchen* (cubed lamb shoulder dredged and browned; oven-braised with browned sliced onion, sage, white wine, tomato paste and broth; you add cooked or canned white kidney beans for the last 15 mintutes, and just before serving, stir in a good quantity of finely chopped garlic and chopped parsley) and the mussel soup with celery, tomatoes and cranberry beans in *Marcella Cucina*.

                                                Show Hidden Posts