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Shelling Beans

September 3, 2012

These beauties are called “BINGO” beans, and I harvested them just short of ‘dry’ so that you can experience this one-time-per-season phenomenon of fresh beans. These need to be popped out of their shells (get the kids on this job) before cooking. They don’t need to be soaked the way you would to rehydrate a dried bean, and their cooking time is way shorter 10-15 minutes, or until tender. You can use them in your favorite recipes the way you would a dried bean… but since they coincide so well with corn and tomato season, there are lots of recipes on line for succotash or quick shelling bean sautes with summer veggies and herbs. Chef Cheryl is leaving us for her restaurant internship in NY for the rest of the summer… but she’s left us with these words of bean wisdom:

Turns out, I have no idea what to do with shelling beans. I mean, the standard succotash or bean/corn salad is a reliable fall-back, but I was eager to find something new for the shelling beans. I spent hours, days, asking everyone I know,I looked through cook books, cooking blogs, and the internet at large, and I am sad to say that I found NO unusual or super creative recipes for shelling beans. David Lebowitz has an awesome shelling bean salad recipe, (found here: and the bean stew recipes abound, but I am still on the hunt for something outside of the pod for these beans. This pasta recipe was adapted from the Gourmet magazine haricot vert pasta recipe, and you can add any other vegetables you choose. Just keep in mind cooking times for different vegetables and add them to the sauce according to those times. (e.g. tough and hard vegetables should be added before softer, thinner vegetables.)

The sauce is really delicious on its own and can be used to top quinoa, rice, or any other grain of your choice. 
Anyone have other great ideas for shelling beans?? Share them with me! 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, concasse (blanched, peeled, seeded, and chopped)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 pounds shelling beans, shelled and lightly steamed til tender/firm
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
8 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta; about 2 cups) or medium pasta shells
1 pound broccoli crowns, separated into small florets (about 5 cups)
3 tablespoons freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; continue to saute and stir another minute or so. Stir in tomatoes with juices and 1/4 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in beans and basil. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook orecchiette pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add broccoli florets; cook until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite and broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes longer. Ladle out 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain orecchiette and broccoli florets; return to pot.

Add tomato sauce and reserved pasta cooking water to pasta and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

****** I’ll add to this that Jon and my favorite way to eat these little gems is to saute them with a bit of garlic, then braised down with some chicken stock, add sliced up kale leaves until they’re cooked and top with some grated parmesan and crumbled, crispy bacon… and eat it like the Brits do. On toast. Delicious Bread Board Sourdough toast. -nadine

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