Spanish Heirloom Beans

Cooking instructions and characteristics

Spanish Heirloom Beans

Cooking instructions and characteristics

Heirloom beans are a small batch crop that require a lot of care and attention throughout the process of growing and selecting. This means they cost more than other beans, so our approach, as taught to us by our Spanish peer group, is to use small amounts of excellent additional ingredients – don’t hesitate and splash out on the best beans for the best results!

AROMATICS & FLAVOURINGS & SAUCES

Heirloom beans have characteristics and flavours that you do not want to obscure. 

AROMATICS

Typically, aromatics for bean and pulse dishes are as below:

• Dried red peppers such as nora, guindilla, choricero or Mexican pepper varietals ( see Cool Chile company)
• A small amount of pepper paste such as nora paste is ideal
• Pimenton: hot mild bitter sweet smoked and unsmoked
• Saffron stamens
• Paella seasoning
• Bay leaves or the Catalan herb parcel farcellet
• Dried oregano


PICADA

Picada, majada, pesto or pistou are variations on the same theme of adding a “je ne se quois” to the dish. They typically consist of nuts, bread, spices and a liquid crushed into a paste and put in the dish near the end of cooking to give a fresh burst of colour, flavour, consistency and heady aroma. The ingredients are not always easy to identify but they offer complexity and depth to the dish.

Easy short cuts for flavour and consistency can be a small dash of sherry or apple vinegar or a spoonful of peanut butter or romesco sauce. You can also try:
• Grated dark chocolate
• Crushed almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts
• Herbs fresh or dried
• Olive oil, sherry, water
• Saffron
• Pimenton


SAUCES & INGREDIENTS


Sauces, such as sofrito and fritada, can overwhelm heirloom beans and are best reserved for jarred beans.

• Grate fresh tomatoes into these dishes and ensure you cook down your own onions
• For extra luxury top with goats curd, labneh or cream
• Cook meats such as pancetta, chorizo, morcilla whole and slice once cooked to add to the dish 
• Cooking chorizos and beans are a match made in heaven
• Sliced hard boiled eggs are a real classic Spanish topping to many bean dishes, do try them!


BEAN PREPARATION 

 First you should soak the beans until they are plump and smooth. Usually, 12 hours is enough. Sometimes you may need a few hours more, particularly if the beans are a bit older. In warm weather refrigerate the soaking beans.

Heirloom beans can reach optimum tenderness relatively quickly so keep a close eye on them.

Cooking times vary due to the age of the beans, water hardness and how gently the beans are simmered. 
Once you’ve cooked them a couple of times you'll get to know them.

Should you find the beans are simmering too hard, you can “shock” them (slow things down) with the addition of a little cold water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catalan White Navy Bean Cooking Instructions

Mongeta del Castellfollit 

When the beans are soaked, rinse and put in a heavy cook pot and cover well with fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat to very low and cover. Simmer gently until tender - usually for 50-60 minutes. 

 

 Recipe Tips

Mongeta beans are typically served with grilled botifarra sausage.  Refry some cooked mongetas with garlic and parsley alongside chunky sausages such as Cumberland or tolouse.

Perfect as a simple side dish to grilled fish or grilled meats to soak up the gravy.

Very popular for salads, especially typical is the salt cod salad empedrat.

 

 

 

 Basque Purple Beans Cooking Instructions

Alubias de Tolosa


When the beans are soaked, rinse and put in a heavy cook pot and cover well with fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat to very low and cover. Simmer gently until tender - usually for 60-80 minutes. NB Should you find the beans are simmering too hard, you can “shock” them (slow things down) with the addition of a little cold water.

Recipe Tips

Tolosa are so loved for their flavour that many families just cook them slowly with an onion and carrot only and eat them as they are

The basque custom is to eat a bowl of tolosa beans either plain as above or slow cooked with panceta or chorizo but always with a couple of pickled guindilla peppers on the side.

Traditionally tolosa beans would only be cooked in an earthenware pot.

A break from tradition would be to use these beans for Mexican enchiladas using corn tortillas.


 Galician White Faba Bean Cooking Instructions

 

Faba de Lourenzá


When the beans are soaked, rinse and put in a heavy cook pot and cover well with fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat to very low and cover. Simmer gently until tender - usually for 55-70 minutes. NB Should you find the beans are simmering too hard, you can “shock” them (slow things down) with the addition of a little cold water.

Recipe Tips

Faba are truly delicious on their own, just lightly dress with Brindisa Arbequina Olive Oil

They work well in a broth with sautéed cavolo nero 

Cook with roasted butternut squash to create a ragu

Delicious blended with truffle oil to make spread for crostini

You could also try Faba de Lourenzá a la feria (with two pimentóns)


HEIRLOOM BEAN CHARACTERISTICS

 

New season heirloom beans should be considered semi fresh and stored in a cool dark place. They are characterised by their delicate skins, their ability to absorb water, their tender centres & their individual flavours. The skin and the pulp remain as when one when they cook and as one when consumed. These features come about when plants are grown in small plots in ideal conditions. They need generous rainfall, a mild climate, well naturally irrigated land that is rich in minerals and high in limes and calcium.