Porotos granados is a classic Chilean summer dish. And my favorite Chilean dish in the entire world. I nearly leapt into the air and clicked my heels when I found fresh porotos vallos in the Asian market just minutes from our new house outside of Philadelphia. Porotos granados translates to “de-seeded beans” in English. This means that the beans are purchased fresh, still in the pod.
These beans are known in Chile as porotos vallos, although most people just refer to them as porotos granados. In Italy they are known as borlotti and in the United States as Cranberry beans. When we found them we quickly called one of my most wonderful friends, Kathy, who gave me the list of ingredients that I needed to prepare them.
It’s been almost five years since I last ate proper porotos granados. I spent a few weeks there last July, but the beans were out of season. I’ve since found them dried and canned in different places (See Borlotti Beans with Kale) but nothing compares to cooking and eating them fresh and prepared the traditional Chilean way.
I know it’s not terribly convenient to shell bean pods. But wonderful food sometimes takes a little extra effort. I sat down and watched the latest episode of HBO’s Girls while I did it. It was therapeutic, cathartic and lovely.
The beans themselves are pale green and speckled with purple spots. Some beans are entirely green and others are a deep purple.
The other key ingredient to this dish is fresh basil. While I hate buying basil out of season, fortunately the market had a decent looking bunch at the bottom of the pile.
Not everyone includes leeks in this dish, but I love the taste it adds to beans, so I added a small leek to the recipe.
The base is a sofrito, or onion sautéed in oil along with carrots, and red bell pepper.
In Chile, the most common squash you find is large and flesh-colored and looks like it comes from an illustrated fairy tale. We substituted butternut, which has a similar color, taste and consistency. The only thing missing was fresh corn, which we couldn’t find here in the middle of February, so we used frozen corn. It doesn’t have the same delicate texture or taste, but it worked just fine.
As the beans cook they lose their color and turn pale. As the squash cooks, it falls apart a little bit and thickens.
Chilean Porotos Granados
- 3 lbs whole cranberry bean pods, shelled, pods discarded
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 small leek, cleaned and diced, greens discarded
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 2 cups butternut squashed, diced
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 4 cups water, plus more if necessary
- 1 cup corn, fresh if available
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
- diced tomato for garnish (optional)
- Heat oil in a large sauce pan or stock pot.
- Sauté onions until translucent but not golden.
- Add leeks, carrots, red bell pepper and diced tomatoes.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Add fresh beans and squash.
- Cover with water and season with paprika, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until beans are tender, stock thickens and squash begins to fall apart.
- When beans are tender, add corn and allow to simmer for five minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add basil and stir.
- Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil and tomato.
I served these porotos in my traditional Chilean clay pottery bowls from Pomaire.