Sometimes large dried beans never manage to get that soft creamy center you want in a bean. Unless you cook them in a pressure cooker. Instead of soaking and cooking for hours, in a fraction of the time you get a perfectly hydrated, tender bean. My recommendation is to find a pressure cooker cookbook you like and use it as a guide. Through trial and not error (but more trial) I’ve discovered that 15 – 20 minutes at low pressure is perfect for these imported Italian Corona beans. Once you have the cooked beans you can freeze them or keep them in the refrigerator and use them over a week. I made two dishes with them. Barley Bean Soup (also in the pressure cooker) and my weeknight take on a cassoulet aka Weenie Beanie. If you live in the LA area you can try Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market or Surfas for the beans, or the link above.
2 Let’s Be Frank Beef Dogs, cut into 2″ pieces
2 cups prepared tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1/2 lb. Corona Beans, cooked
Letftover Roast Chicken Legs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the dogs, tomato sauce, herbs and beans together in a bowl. Correct seasoning. Arrange in an oven to table baking dish. Tuck the whole chicken legs underneath the beans and sauce. Drizzle a bit of good extra virgin oil over the top. Bake until contents of the dish is bubbling hot. Carefully remove from the oven and serve with crusty bread.
Barley Bean Soup Under Pressure
1 onion, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and cut into thick “coins”
2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut crosswise into slices
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup barley
2 cups cooked beans
2 cups sliced mushrooms or 1/2 cup rehydrated porcini mushrooms or a package of white or brown Japanese beech mushrooms
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups water
Saute the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil over medium high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook vegetables until they begin to soften and the onion starts to take on some color. Add remaining ingredients. Bring cooker up to high pressure and adjust heat so that it stays there for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and let pressure subside naturally. Carefully open lid. Taste soup and correct seasoning if necessary.