The kidney bean is named for its its dark
red skin and because it looks like a kidney. The kidney bean is also known
as the red bean, but this term just causes confusion with other red beans.
Red kidney beans are a major element of the cuisine northern India.
Dark red Kidney beans have an earthy flavor popular in Mexican and Central
Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored
in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor
degrade and cooking times lengthen.
Dried beans are almost always cooked by
boiling, but usually after having been soaked for several hours.
While the soaking is not always necessary, it does shorten the cooking
time and results in more evenly textured beans. Discarding one or more
batches of soaking water tends to leach out the hard-to-digest
complex sugars that can cause flatulence.
There are several methods including
overnight soaking, and the power soak method, which is to boil beans for
three minutes, then set them aside for 2-4 hours, then drain and discard
the water and proceed with cooking.
Common beans take longer to cook than most
and cooking times will vary from one to four hours, but are substantially
reduced with pressure cooking. A note of caution here should be noted when
using pressure cookers on beans; always follow the manufacturer's
guidelines as bits of bean or skin could clog the exhaust port causing
The traditional spice used with beans is Epazote,
which is also said to aid digestion. Kombu, which is a type of seaweed,
can also be added to beans as they cook to improve their digestion as
Salt, sugar, and acidic foods like tomatoes
may harden uncooked beans resulting in seasoned beans at the expense of
slightly longer cooking times.
CRUSTY MEXICAN BEAN BAKE:
1/2 c whole wheat flour *
1/2 t sea salt *
1/2 t baking powder *
2 T. shortening
1/2 c sour cream
1 egg beaten
3/4 c tomato paste
3/4 lb ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
1 t sea salt*
2 t chili powder*
1/2 t Tabasco sauce
2 c un-drained cooked kidney beans*
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
1 c. chopped raw tomato
1 c shredded lettuce
Combine crust ingredients. Mix together. May
be slightly lumpy.
Spread thinly on bottom and sides of shallow greased 2
Brown in skillet ground beef and onion.
remaining filling ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Spoon over crust and bake
at 350ºF for 30 min.
Remove from oven and
sprinkle cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Serve with dollop of Sour cream.
*These products are available from www.barryfarm.com