Have you had a go at cranberry beans? This time of the year we find them fresh at the farmers market. I couldn’t possible leave them out of the menu, they make the best mezze.
Head straight to the recipe.
Their Greek name is a bit of a mouthful, cranberry beans are known as ‘hantres’ meaning beads or ‘barbounofasoula’ which has no meaning whatsoever. They make their appearance in the farmers market late August. They are very similar to borlotti beans, although their skins are covered in the most beautiful magenta mosaic. Normally you take them out of their husks to cook when fresh. You can also find them dried throughout the year or even frozen nowadays.
Cranberry beans make for another of our famous Greek lathera dishes, the pulse of choice in this case is beans and it is cooked in ample of olive oil and a good dose of fresh tomato sauce. Fasolia hantres, is a very sought-after mezze, their mellow, buttery flavour makes such a good pair with a strong raki or ouzo. In a way, they sum up the taste of our last carefree summer days. Autumn is fast approaching!
- 450 gr. cranberry beans
- 2 Onions chopped
- 1-2 carrots chopped
- 3 tbsp parsley chopped, stems revomed
- 1 tbsp fresh mint or 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 tspn sugar
- 400 gr tomatoes chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 70 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 500 ml. water
- If you have fresh cranberry beans, remove them from their pods. 2. In a large pot, add a bit of olive oil and sauté the chopped onions, after a few minutes add the carrots and cook until soft in medium heat. Add the sugar, stir well and keep sautéing for 4-5 minutes. 3. Add in the cranberry beans and mix well. 4. a few minutes, add in the chopped tomatoes and the warm water. Place the lid on top and lower the heat to a simmer. The cranberry beans need approximately 45 minutes to cook. You might need to add water as you go, so keep an eye on it. 5. Towards the end, the last 10 minutes, add in your herbs and wait until all water evaporates and you have a thick tomato sauce. If your beans are too hard, top it up with a bit of water and an extra 10 minutes boil.
Cranberry beans are best served at room temperature so the flavours are set. Freshly ground pepper is a must and a nice cold glass of raki or ouzo is a nice way to wash them down.
From Athens with love,by