Cranberry beans are lovely when pureed with garlic, sage and a white creamy sauce. These beans pack a protein punch, so you can feature it as a main dish or it can replace mashed potatoes when served on the side. This recipe comes to us from Libby Rawls of New York, NY.
Serves 10 as a side dish. 5 as a main dish.
For the Béchamel sauce:
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1.5 tablespoons flour
- salt, to taste
For the bean puree:
- 2 pounds fresh cranberry beans, shelled and cleaned
- 1¼ cup dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight & drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 fresh sage leaves or 3 dried sage leaves
- 1 medium potato peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste
To complete the dish:
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
For the Béchamel Sauce:
In a sauce pan over low heat begin to heat the milk for 2-5 minutes or until it bubbles slightly. Do not let the milk reach full boil.
In a separate sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter slowly. Once the butter if fully melted fully begin adding the flour while stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon for 2-5 minutes or until flour is thoroughly incorporated, but hasn’t started to color. Remove from heat as soon as flour and bitter are a mixed paste.
Begin adding the milk 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing to combine the milk with the flour-butter mixture before you add the next 2 tablespoons. Repeat process until you have added 8 tablespoons of milk.
Put the saucepan back on low heat and pour in the remaining ½ cup of milk and stir over heat to combine. Season with salt to taste and continue stirring until sauce gets as dense as thick cream.
Cover and set aside while you make the bean purée.
For the bean purée:
In a large cooking pot over medium-low heat combine the beans, bay leaves, garlic, sage and enough water to cover the mixture by 3 inches. Cover and slowly simmer at medium-low heat for at least 10 minutes, or until beans are almost tender. Dried beans will take longer to cook than fresh beans.
When the beans are almost tender add the cut potato and cook for another 7-10 minutes or until both the beans and the potato pieces are fully tender. Remove pot from heat and season with salt to taste.
Drain beans and potato, taking care to pick out and discard any bay leaves, sage and garlic if possible. Puree the beans and potatoes using a food processor or food mill.
To complete the dish:
Mix the bean puree with the béchamel sauce, grated parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve warm.