Monday, January 27, 2014

Cranberry Beans and Kale

We got home from visiting my family in Virginia at 9 pm on New Year's Day.  The next morning, we were doing Christmas with our kids.  Since ours are still on the younger side--4, 6, and 8 years old, we knew it would be an earlyish morning.  Curtis's mom was giving over to spend time with us as well.

I had planned on pulling a pan of lasagne out of the oven first thing and having that for lunch.  However, after a week of eating wonderful food, full of meat and goodness, I was ready for something a hair lighter.  Lasagne just didn't sound good to either Curtis or I.  After putting the kids to bed, I thought, "I have beans."  The plan was just to have beans and rice for lunch,

I went to my pantry and found a bag of fancy Bob's Red Mill cranberry beans.  I have no idea when or where I bought these--this wasn't a typical purchase.  I usually buy my beans from the bulk bins.  I looked at the back of the bag for cooking instructions and found this recipe.

It was perfect!  I had everything I needed in my house and I had kale that needed to be cut in my small garden outside.  I soaked the beans overnight, cooked them while we opened presents and started the soup once were were done opening presents.

We all loved it.  Curtis and I thought a little chipotle tabasco made the perfect garnish.  Much better than my pan of lasagne and we felt much better about ourselves for eating it (always a nice benefit on January 2).

This serves 6 - 8.

Cranberry Beans and Kale
adapted from the back of the bag of Bob's Red Mill Cranberry Beans

1 1/2 c dried cranberry beans (or other light colored beans--not black, pinto, or kidney)

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cumin
6 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
1 lb (more or less) kale, center stems removed and coarsely chopped
1/2 c cornmeal 
1/2 c water
juice of 1/2 lemon

Soak the beans overnight.

The next day, cook the beans in enough water to cover by 1 - 2" inches in a large pot for one hour, or until beans are tender.  (The beans should simmer gently away for that hour--not a fast boil).  Drain beans and rinse out pot.

In large soup pot, heat olive oil.  Add the onions and cook until tender.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Stir in the cumin.  Add the chicken broth, cooked beans, tomato paste, and kale.  Simmer until the kale is tender.  In a measuring cup, mix together the water, cornmeal, and lemon juice into a paste.  Pour it slowly into the simmering stew.  Simmer for another 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper

Serve hot and add some tabasco if you desire.

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