Q: I've recently gone down the dangerous road of buying lots of different dried beans, mostly because they're pretty. I have probably four pounds of cranberry beans and Jacob's cattle beans, and some flageolet beans. While I can definitely just stick them in soup and chili, I'm hoping for some advice on what each bean is really best for.
Sent by Cait
Editor: I tend to pair the flavor and texture of the bean with the dish. I love rich, hearty cranberry beans in rich, hearty winter stews — I actually just used cranberry beans to make this Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup. Flageolets have a more delicate flavor and tender texture, so I like them better in more dishes that show-case that character, like summer bean salads or as a side dish on its own with fish.
Also, the Rancho Gordo cookbook is a great place to look for recipes that use heirloom beans:
→ Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando and Rancho Gordo
Readers, do you have any particular bean-and-dish pairings that you like or recommend?