White Bean Stew with Winter Squash and Kale Featured


White Bean Stew with Winter Squash and Kale

I’ve been hearing the internet chatter about the wonders of Rancho Gordo beans for a while, but with no Whole Foods in my town (yet), I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to try them unless I ordered them. But then I saw them in The Fresh Market (which I usually call the Froo-Froo Market because of its fancy prices) and couldn’t resist picking up these pretty Yellow-Eye Beans:

Yellow Eye Beans from Rancho Gordo

First, let me just say–Ouch! That pound of beans cost me $7-something plus tax. Regular old navy beans in Kroger cost less than a dollar a pound, and if I think too long about how many bucks I could be saving for my daughter’s education or sending to charity, I’d never buy fancy beans again. But these beans were very good–they cooked quickly in the pressure cooker, became tender without falling apart, and, most importantly, are organically grown. I won’t be shelling out the big bucks for them every day, but I was happy with their flavor and eager to try some of Rancho Gordo’s other varieties.

White Bean Stew with Winter Squash and Kale

For my first foray into fancy-bean territory, I made a relatively simple stew modeled on a traditional Chilean dish called Porotos Granados, which is usually made with fresh cranberry beans and topped with a pesto-like mixture of herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley) and hot peppers called pebre. To me, the one ingredient that makes the flavor of porotos granados different from other South American bean stews is the fresh basil, so I wanted to try a variation of it while my basil plants were still thriving. Because I like to make everything I can a one-pot meal by adding veggies, I threw in a bunch of lacinato kale. I skipped the pebre (many of you know my intolerance for cilantro), increased the seasonings significantly, and served it with some Tabasco garlic sauce. My husband loved it, I really liked it, and my daughter E (who currently claims to hate white beans and squash) ate it under protest and thought it contained too much basil. Since I’ve given up on E loving anything but pasta, I consider that a success.


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