Saturday, September 19, 2015

Chilean Bean Soup (Porotos Granados)

Porotos Granados is a very typical Chilean dish. In honor the "el dieciocho" the biggest holiday in Chile (the 18th of September), traditional Chilean foods are cooked for about a week long "Fiestas Patrias." While Chile's Independence Day is on February 12, this September holiday commemorates the beginning of the independence process. Because I am in the Northern hemisphere and this is a late summer bean, I will honor my Chilean family and friends with this wonderful dish from beans harvested out of my own garden. 

The first time I was introduced to this dish, I was in Chile and we were sitting around the dining table late in the evening and a huge bowl of these beans were placed in the center of the table and everyone starting grabbing a handful to shell. It became a family event. 

This bright red-speckled bean looked like pole beans, or shell beans, but the fantastic red coloring was new to me.  These are cranberry beans and not easy to find in the Pacific Northwest. I first found them at Seattle's Pike Street Market and we must have brought home about 6 pounds worth because my husband was so excited to see them. Since then, I found a local produce stand that has a small quantity. The owner usually harvests them for her own consumption and only puts a few out a year. Since then, I was able to find some dried beans to plant in our own garden. I have also seen the dried variety packages by Bob's Red Mill.

3 tablespoons oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 ears corn, sliced off the cob
6 cups water
2 cups fresh cranberry beans
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in large stock pot and add onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent and the aroma from the garlic begins to release. Add squash cubes, paprika, cumin and chili powder and saute together.

Add beans and water. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until beans are softened.

Add corn and basil and cook for another 10 minutes until softened.

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