The beauty of fresh shelled beans is you can use them in any recipe you normally use dried beans for–like chili, bean soups, etc–but you don’t have to do the onerous overnight soak. Here are 3 favorites:
Baked Shelling Beans
4 c shelled beans (about 4#)
4 c water
1 c onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 c molasses
1/3 c dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
Put the shelled beans and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove. Do not drain. Mix the remaining ingredients and stir into the beans. Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake at 300F for 1-1/2 hours. Remove the cover and continue to bake for 30-60 mins more or until some of the liquid has been absorbed.
Fresh Shelling Bean & Basil Soup
6 slices chewy, country-style bread
2 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves
For the Soup:
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, minced
5 c. chicken broth
3-4 c. fresh shelled beans, or other shelled white beans (about 4#)
1 bay leaf
1 t. freshly ground pepper
1/4 lb. pencil-thin green beans, cut into 2″ lengths (opt)
1/2 c. basil leaves
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
Toasts: Preheat oven to 400F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil. Return to oven and bake for another 5-10 mins. until toasts are firm and lightly golden. Remove and let cool, then rub both sides of each toast with a garlic clove. Set aside.
Soup: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the garlic and onion; cook, stirring for a minute or two, until the onion is translucent. Add broth, shell beans, bay leaf and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 mins or until the beans are soft. Add salt as needed. Remove the bay leaf. Remove 1 c. of the beans, puree in a processor or blender, then return them to pot. Add the optional green beans and simmer for a few moments, until they are just tender. While the beans are cooking, puree the basil and olive oil. Set aside.
To Serve: Place a toast in the bottom of each soup bowl, then ladle in the soup. Add a tsp of the basil sauce to each, giving half a stir
with the spoon to make a swirl.
Pasta with a Sauce of Fresh Shelling Beans and Broccoli
2 Tab olive oil
1 c chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
2# loosely chopped tomatoes or 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 c water
1-1/2 lb shelling beans, shelled and lightly steamed til tender/firm
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
8 oz (about 2 c) orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or medium pasta shells
1# broccoli crowns, separated into small florets (about 5 c)
3 Tab Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 min. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juices and 1/4 c water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 min. Stir in beans and basil. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook orecchiette pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 15 min. Add broccoli florets; cook until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite and broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 2 min longer. Ladle out 1/2 c pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain orecchiette and broccoli florets; return to pot.
Add tomato sauce and reserved pasta cooking water to pasta and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Advance preparation: You can make the sauce several hours before cooking the pasta and serving. Thin out with bean broth or pasta cooking water if desired. The cooked beans will keep for three days in the refrigerator.