I like most beans. Pintos, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, favas, black-eye peas - you name it, I've probably cooked it up in something recently or have some killer recipe for it. Such comfort food. They are filling, taste good, have a marvelous feel in your mouth, mix with other ingredients in interesting ways, good hot or cold, and so forth.
My two exceptions to this are red kidney beans and almost any kind of white bean. I don't like the texture of red kidney beans. Their skin is tough, the bean thick and unyielding, the flavor odd. As for white beans, there's no there there. Bland, dull, mushy, only occasionally providing a decent foil to the other flavors and textures of the the food.
For red kidney bean recipes, I usually substitute in a different red bean, or even black beans, but white bean recipes have left me stymied. Pintos/spotted beans are too assertive, garbanzos have the wrong flavor/texture, and black-eye peas get too mushy. Now I have the best replacement - mayacoba beans.
Also known as maicoba beans, peruano beans, canary beans, and a few other names, these are yellow beans about the size and shape of pinto beans that cook up into a creamy white bean about the size and shape of cannellini beans and with a flavor similar to pintos, but much milder. I just made a big crock pot of "US Senate Bean Soup" which calls for navy beans and substituted mayacoba beans with great results. They became very tender and creamy without becoming mushy and they had a flavor to add to the pot instead of needing tons of ham/bacon/sausage to carry the day.
Mayacoba bean soup - $7.00; Serves six generously - $1.16/serving
- 1 lb Mayacoba beans - $0.96
- 2 medium onions, minced - $0.18
- 4 stalks of celery finely chopped or 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped - $1.00
- 2-3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed - $0.74
- 1 smoked ham hock - $1.32
- 1 bunch of kale (optional) - $0.99
- water or chicken stock - $1.81 (5 cups stock)
- Soak beans overnight or quick soak.
- Cook beans in water until almost done. This can be on the stove top or, as I did, on High in a slow cooker for a few hours.
- Drain beans.
- Put finely chopped vegetables in bottom of slow cooker, layer potatoes over them, dump drained beans over them, and bury the ham hock down in the middle of the beans.
- Pour in water or stock to just cover the beans.
- Cook on low in slow cooker for 10 hours or until everything is tender. Add salt, pepper and Chipotle hot sauce at the table to taste.
- If you want to add kale (and you really should, it's so good), stem, wash and chop one bunch of kale and stir it into the soup at about the 8 hour mark and cook until it is tender.
- For more flavor, you can saute the onions and celery/fennel before putting them in the slow cooker in your cooking fat of choice - butter, olive oil, bacon grease, ghee, nitr kibe, etc.