Cranberry beans also called borlotti beans, Roman or romano beans are creamy and flavourful. They do lose their gorgeous colouring once cooked.
You can cook them in a number of ways but I wanted to make a hearty vegan one pot dish and this is as easy as they come. You just need to remember to soak the beans overnight so you need a bit of planning to make this. When I make dishes like this, I tend to save one half for another meal before eating!
400g cranberry beans (soaked overnight)
300g onion, evenly diced
400g carrots, chunky diced
2 celery sticks, sliced thinly
200g tinned tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
15 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6-7 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Aleppo style chilli powder or a mild chilli powder
1 teaspoon smoky or mild paprika
1 litre vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
1.5 litres water
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Some grated cheese or corn chips as a topping
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Discard the soaking liquid and rinse soaked beans well. Set aside.
Put a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed oven proof pot on heat. Pour the extra virgin olive oil and toss the garlic in. Fry the garlic gently for 3 or 4 minutes until the aroma emanates. Throw in the onion, celery, cinnamon and bay leaves. Fry on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and stir around for half a minute. Make a well by putting the vegetables to the wall and add the tomato paste. Mix it in by frying for a couple of minutes. Next go in the chilli powder and paprika along with some pepper and continue the same by incorporating into the mix.
Add the carrots followed by the tinned tomatoes. Fry to break up the tomatoes so the juice provides the moisture and does not stick to the bottom. Mix in the cranberry beans along with the stock. When the stock comes up to the boil, add enough water so beans are submerged and there is about half a centimetre of water above the bean mixture. Let it all come up to the boil.
Cover and transfer your pot to the oven. Cook covered for an hour and a half turning the beans over every half hour or so. Remove lid and cook for a further 20 -30 minutes until thickish and creamy depending on the amount of liquid left in the pot. (You still want a bit of liquid)
Let cool outside for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with bread topped with some grated cheddar or crushed corn chips.