When shopping at the Red apple on Hastings I came across these very beautiful beans and had to buy them.
They have several different names, depending where you come from, the Italians call them borlotti beans but they are often called cranberry beans in North America. I suspected (and was correct) that like purple beans they loose their colour and beauty when you cook them. I decided to make soup as this seemed to be the way that they were often cooked when I researched them. The shells are very hard so you have to shell them first before cooking.
I also picked up some beautiful local red chard as I thought these two flavours would go very well together.
1 small onion chopped
1 clove of garlic thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 cups of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
A sprig of rosemary
A sprig of sage
2 cups of hulled borlotti beans
1 bunch of red chard
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large pot until the onion is transparent, then add the beans stock and herbs.
Simmer this with the lid on for about 1/2 an hour when the beans are cooked through, you might want to add a little more stock at this point depending how much has cooked down. I removed the rosemary and bay leaf then added the washed chopped chard.
I had to add it in batches as at first it filled the pot to the brim but it does not take very long before it collapses down to almost nothing. Simmer for a few minutes until the chard is soft.
The red of the chard turned the broth quite red, but sadly the beans though tasty were not very beautiful anymore and seemed to have lost all sign of their speckles. These beans were very meaty with almost a chestnut texture and flavour. I had enough soup for lunch on the deck as well as packing to work for a couple of lunches there. When I had the soup at work sadly it was in a plastic container sitting in a cafeteria. Oh well it still tasted the same.