What are white kidney beans?

Both dried and canned kidney beans are available throughout the year. Dried beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as in bulk bins.

True to their name, these popular beans are kidney shaped and are especially good in simmered dishes where they absorb the flavors of seasonings and the other foods with which they are cooked.


How do I prepare beans?

Before washing kidney beans, spread them out on a light colored plate or cooking surface to check for and remove stones and damaged beans. After this process, place the beans in a strainer and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.

To shorten their cooking time and make them easier to digest, kidney beans should be presoaked (presoaking has been found to reduce the raffinose-type oligosaccharides, sugars associated with causing flatulence.) There are two basic methods for presoaking. For each, start by placing the beans in a saucepan with two to three cups of water per cup of beans.

The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours. The alternative method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing the pan in the refrigerator, so the beans will not ferment.

Before cooking the beans, regardless of pre-soaking method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.

  1. Starting the night before, place the dry navy beans in a bowl and cover them with the milk. Let them soak overnight.
  2. The next day, when you’re ready to cook them, drain the beans and place them in saucepan with enough water to cover them by about three inches. Bring the water to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let the beans boil gently until they’re about half-cooked. Drain them again and set them aside.
  3. In your terracotta cooker or dutch oven, place the onion, meat, tomato paste, butter and salt and stir until combined. Add the beans then the water and cover.
  4. Place the cooker or dutch oven in a 200° C/ 385° F oven and cook for at least 3 hours, until the beans are soft and the meat is tender.
  5. When your beans are cooked, remove the cooker from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the edges, open and serve.
  6. If you don’t have a terracotta cooker or Dutch oven, you can cook this recipe on the stove. Simply increase the amount of water to 4 cups and let the beans simmer very slowly with the cover on until tender. You may have to add extra water as they cook.
  7. The traditional Turkish way to serve beans is with rice pilaf and mixed dill pickles.
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