My favorite Chilean dish is called porotos granados. It’s a summer stew made with fresh beans which you have to shuck from their pods. The beans are cooked with other delicious ingredients like squash and fresh basil. The problem is that these beans, known in the United States as Cranberry beans, are hard to find. I almost started a backyard garden with the sole purpose of cultivating these beans so I could have them fresh. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.
Why are these beans so amazing? They have this delicate nutty flavor and creamy texture that is simply out of this world. However, these beans are much easier to find dried. I had planned on making this recipe with White Northern Beans. I normally buy my beans dried, in bulk, but today I didn’t have the foresight to soak them overnight. So, I decided to get canned beans and was delighted when I came across the imported canned Italian version of these beans: Borlotti.
You can see from the picture that before these beans are cooked, they are a beautifully spotted cream and pink. If you cannot find the canned version, you can get a dried version from Bob’s Red Mill. As with any dried beans, be sure to soak them overnight. I also recommend cooking them in a pressure cooker beforehand, it will cut down a lot of cooking time. Summer Tomato has a great guide.
A little secret I learned from my Chilean mother in law who makes excellent porotos con longaniza (beans and sausage) is that you brown the sausage in oil and then remove it, and wait until the end to add it to the soup. The sausage and its drippings flavor the oil. Removing the sausage before cooking will prevent the sausage from losing its flavor. I also recommend not adding any salt while cooking until the very end when the chorizo has been incorporated. Chorizo is especially salty so it’s addition at the end may skew the salt levels.
I put in the kale at the very end of cooking, too. The kale will still wilt in the heat, but this retains many of the nutrients that can be lost if kale is overcooked.
Borlottti Beans with Chorizo and Kale
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil
- 1 medium yellow or onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes and their liquid
- 3 14-ounce can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
- 32 ounces chicken broth
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 12 ounces pre-cooked chorizo, sliced
- fresh basil if available for garnish
- salt, if needed, to taste
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Slice pre-cooked chorizo into rounds. Heat chorizo in oil until browned on both sides. Remove chorizo and set aside, reserving the oil in the pan.
- Add onions and garlic to oil and sausage drippings. Sauté until translucent.
- Stir in carrots and red peppers to the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add butternut squash and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms release their liquid.
- Pour the fire roasted tomatoes and their liquid and the chicken stock into pot. Add borlotti beans.
- Bring to a boil, about 10-15 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer.
- Simmer until butternut squash is tender.
- Remove from heat.
- Stir in kale and reserved sausage.
- Garnish with fresh basil.