Citrus and Smoke Roman Beans

1 lb dried roman beans (aka cranberry beans)
2 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and diced
2 dried japones chiles
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon cocoa
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1/2 cup chili sauce (like Heinz)
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon pecan liquid smoke
juice and zest of 1 minneola tangelo
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

The night before you want to make the beans: Place the beans and dried pepper in the insert of a 4 quart slow cooker. Fill with water. Cover and allow to soak overnight.

The next morning: tear the peppers into small pieces. Drain the beans and peppers. Return the beans and peppers to the slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 10-12 hrs.

Note: If you want them to cook for 8-10 hours, boil the beans for 10 minutes before adding them to the slow cooker.

My thoughts:

Although I’m super ready to move on to spring, I’ve been trying to eek out the last bit of juice and flavor out of citrus while I still can. I love minneolas* because they are large, juicy and have a lovely floral flavor. I’ve been experimenting lately with using dried beans and when I saw roman beans (aka cranberry beans) for sale among the usual red, black and pinto I bought a few bags. I like them because they hold their shape even after a long cooking time. Since I vastly prefer using the slow cooker for dried beans than any other method, roman beans are perfect. I decided to turn them into a simple baked bean side dish. I love making side dishes in the slow cooker even if I’m making a main dish another way because it really cuts down on my cooking time in the evening. I prepped the beans and measured out all of the ingredients the night before then got them going in the morning. That night I just heated up a pork loin I had marinating and heated up some mixed vegetables. Very little effort, maximum rewards.

Try the leftover beans under a fried egg for a quick breakfast.

*Also called honeybells, minneolas are a cross between Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine.

One Comment

  1. Try going into a shop in the UK and asking for either Roman or cranberry beans and you can expect a blank look.
    Now try Borlotti beans and you may get somewhere because that is the name we know them as over here.
    Recipe looks good except I would leave out the bacon to make it vegetarian and use my own chilli sauce rather than a processed one from big food