Your Favorite Beans And Why You Love Them
- bbqboy Feb 5, 2008 09:16 PM
Tell me about your favorite beans.
Did you grow up eating Navy Beans, Red Beans, Pinto Beans and more?
Meat-yes no or maybe?
Pintos or Navy Beans with ham hocks were a weekly dish for our family.
Exotic or pedestrian, doesn't matter to me:)
I grew up eating a lot of beans -- aduki beans, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, split peas, cranberry beans. We ate them in many ways -- cooked with rice, baked beans, chili con carne, dessert. However, I didn't have my favorite bean until I was about 20 -- chana dal. It's really savory and satisfying.
I grew up eating pintos almost exclusively...well, that is, the only types of beans I ate growing up were pintos. I certainly would have eaten them exclusively if I had been given the option, however: there's a famous family story that once when I was in the hospital as a little kid (which I was, a *lot*), I got so upset that I couldn't have beans for dinner that someone went out and bought a can of Ranch Style beans for me. To this day, I always make sure I have at least a half-dozen cans in the pantry, which is tricky up here because you can only buy them at Wal-Mart Supercenters in New England. Regular supermarkets don't have them.
But my mom made pinto beans at least once every couple weeks when I was growing up, and to this day, I make them exactly the same way she did. I even eat them the same way I did when I was a kid: take a slice of the cornbread that's the only logical accompaniment to a pot of beans, crumble it up in the bowl, add beans, eat, with a couple scallions or thin slices of yellow onion on the side. Turn the leftovers into a pot of chili a few days later (yes, I'm from Texas and yes, I put beans in my chili -- deal with it), and if there's any chili left over a couple days after that, either top a pan of cheese enchiladas with it or make a Frito pie, depending on how much is left. Allstonian likes it when I make beans because that's like most of a week's worth of dinners sorted.
However, as I've grown up and learned that there are beans other than pintos (and the occasional pot of black eye peas), I've also grown fond of Dominican red beans, black turtle beans, navy beans (preferably baked, of course), every kind of lentil in every kind of preparation from cold salads to channa dal, pink beans, chickpeas, fermented black soybeans, red bean paste...basically, we have most of el productos del Goya in our pantry, both canned and dried, at any given time, and tons of ways to serve them. I don't even think in terms of how healthy beans are, or how inexpensive: I just know that they're tasty.
That said, I find lima beans repellent. Baby limas are fine, like you get in succotach, but full-sized dried limas? Blerg.
Naturally, it helps a lot that a) part of me is eternally 12 years old, and b) I work by myself in a home office. Makes the consequences of a bean-heavy diet easier to deal with.
I like almost all the pulses. I used to hate limas, and then I had the Greek fasolia gigandes which are super big limas. They were baked with olive oil and onions and garlic and white wine, and I couldn't believe they could be so good. I discovered my problem with limas was the texture when they were cooked badly. That said, my current bean favorite is black eye peas (which I despised as a kid), cooked with rice and pork, as in Hoppin John. But I could eat simmered pinto beans for the rest of my life and not get tired of them. And I love haricots of any description. If the Bible had been written in the Western Hemisphere, there would have been a day of creation dedicated to rice and beans.
my mom made beans two ways: baked beans in the summer (homemade from scratch, and I'm sure they're wonderful but I really dislike baked beans), and navy bean soup with a ham hock (which I like but she only made it about once a year).
when I got out of college and had no money I figured it was time to start eating beans as a cheap source of protein. Years later, I LOVE beans and eat them every chance I get. I generally just eat black and pinto...refried pintos, or stewed black beans as a side dish with chicken adobo, or with quesadillas, or with eggs, or in a burrito, or with rice and sriracha and avocado...
Those two are tied for first place in my book.
I couldn't live without chana masala, hummus, falafel, pasta e ceci, etc - not to mention the beige-on-beige glory of chickpeas with mashed potatoes.
But I could eat black beans straight from the can. (They're pretty good with greens, too, or mashed with spices.)
Beans are truly a comfort food to me. I can't begin to narrow it down to one particular type, but at the top of my list are lima beans. I like the small ones and the fordhooks, but prefer the smaller ones. If cooked to being just tender and not mushy they are very filling and, to me, have a meaty type flavor. If I have leftovers, I will eat them for breakfast. I don't add meat to them, unless they are dried and then they are Butter beans! Oh so good with a ham bone. I grew up with Butter beans cooked until mushy and that is how those should be.
Navy beans with bacon or ham, black eyed peas with salt pork or bacon, field peas, crowder peas, creamer peas, actually any of the cowpea types are all so good, and if you can get them fresh (the cowpeas) they are exceptional, with or without meat. Split pea soup is great, also. Not so crazy about kidney beans, or pintos, but I won't refuse to eat them. I think I would eat any bean that crossed my path, which is why I also like to make a 15 bean cajun soup with ham, sausage, and whatever leftover meat I may have on hand!