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Ark of Taste Recipe: Mayflower Bean - Cooked Beans

Feb. 28, 2017

Ark of Taste Recipe: Mayflower Bean - Cooked Beans

Next Turkey Day, give thanks to this small red-speckled bean, which travelled to the United States via one of the most famous ships in history, the Mayflower. After arriving on our shores in 1620, it circulated through the Carolinas and became coveted for its exceptional flavor.

Best suited for relish, salads and salsas, the Mayflower bean is now a rare treat that can transport us back to the first Thanksgiving. So put on your hat and gold-buckled shoes and enjoy the very bean the pilgrims ate when they first stepped foot in America.

Learn more about the Mayflower Bean. 

Whether you use a slow cooker or the stovetop method, knowing how to cook a pot of dried beans is a basic cooking technique that will come in handy time and again. Cook a big batch on a Sunday and you’ll have delicious beans to use in all kinds of recipes throughout the week. You can use either of the following recipes to cook any variety of dried beans. 

Simple Pot of Beans

Servings: 10-12 servings
Active: 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours + overnight soak

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups dry beans, rinsed and picked over, shriveled beans discarded
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 4 stalks celery, with their leaves, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt

Method:

Place the beans a large bowl and cover with cold water by at least 3 inches. Soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans once more before cooking. Place soaked beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by at least 1 inch. Add garlic, celery, bay leaves and olive oil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to simmer. Cook at a gentle simmer, stirring from time to time, until beans are softened but not mushy, about 1 to 2 hours. Once cooked, turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves and discard. Season with salt. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve immediately or store to use as a base for other dishes. (Optional step for extra creamy beans: Remove celery and garlic and place in food processor. Add a scoop of the cooked beans, season with salt, to taste, and blend until creamy. Return to pot and stir to combine.)

DO AHEAD: Cooked beans will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from A Girl and Her Greens, by April Bloomfield

Slow-Cooker Beans

Servings: 10-12 servings
Active: 15 minutes
Total: 6-8 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups dry beans, rinsed and picked over, shriveled beans discarded
  • 12 cups of water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into large quarters
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Kosher salt

Method:

Place dried beans in a 6-quart slow-cooker. Add water and look through the beans, discarding an rocks or “dead” beans. Add the garlic, bay leaves and onion. Cover the slow-cooker tightly with plastic wrap, then foil. Secure lid. It is important to have a tight seal as these beans will cook for 6-8 hours.

Turn the slow-cooker on low and let cook for 6-8 hours. Then turn off slow-cooker and carefully remove the lid, foil and plastic wrap. Add Kosher salt and stir well. Remove bay leaves, large pieces of onion and discard. Allow the beans to cool in the slow-cooker. Serve as is or transfer to a large container and store to use throughout the week.

DO AHEAD: Cooked beans will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted by Andrew Nowak, School Garden Specialist, Slow Food USA

If you're interested in growing Mayflower Beans, you can order seeds from Seeds Savers Exchange.

 

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