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Porotos Granados

I always hope that someone will see a recipe on my site and decide to try it out for themselves.  In the case of these porotos granados, I absolutely understand if they wait for the cooler days of summer.  I came across the Chilean recipe months ago when fresh cranberry beans seemed very far away.  With origins going back to the pre-Columbian Mapuche Indians, it brings together my summer favorites- fresh beans, tomatoes, and corn.  Available year around as dry Roman beans, I could have made the dish with frozen corn, and canned tomatoes but decided to wait.  Finally, last week the cranberry beans made their appearance at my Sunday farmer’s market, right around the time someone turned the heat up to a 100 degrees.

Raised in sweltering Miami on frijoles negros and potaje de garbanzos, I decided to make them anyway.  After a few minutes at the simmer, their candy-colored stripes would go mauve so I took my time with the pictures while I was shelling them.  I also prepped everything before starting, so I wouldn’t have to spend more time near the stove than was required.  Comparing recipes, I noticed some grounded the corn before adding it or cooked the calabaza until it was completely melted into the stew.  I wanted to retain some of the texture of the vegetables so I left some pieces of calabaza whole and threw in the pre-cooked beans and corn at the last possible moment.

With the stew simmering, I turned my attention to the pebre, a traditional garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley and a small amount of heat from Chilean green peppers (I substituted jalapeños).  Once I combined the ingredients, it had only to sit while the flavors developed.  By the time it was done, the heat had broken just enough for me enjoy adding a bit of my own.

Porotos Granados/Cranberry Beans with Corn and Squash
Both recipes are adapted from The Book of Latin American Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz. There are many versions of porotos granados to choose from. I mashed the garlic with the dried herbs to make a more traditional sofrito before adding the tomatoes. I never liked cumin very much, but since I started using the seeds, smashing them as I go, I’ve been dropping it into everything.

2 cups fresh cranberry beans, shelled
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped*
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound calabaza (West Indian Pumpkin), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh corn kernels
Basil, chopped (optional)

Garnish with pebre to taste (see below)

Rinse the fresh beans and put them in a saucepan with cold water to cover (about 3 cups). Bring to a boil than lower the heat, and simmer, covered until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid.

In the meantime, mash the garlic, oregano, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper in a mortar and pestle or small bowl to form a smooth paste.

Heat the oil a skillet and stir in the paprika over medium heat.  As soon as the paprika and oil are thoroughly mixed, stir in the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic mixture and tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally until it is thick and well blended, about 5 more minutes. Combine the squash, cooked beans in a large saucepan with just enough cooking liquid to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook covered. The calabaza will disintegrate and thicken the sauce. Stir in the corn and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve in soup plates with pebre, chopped basil, or merken to taste.

*I didn’t want to blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins so instead I used a trick a friend taught me where you slice off either end of the tomato, and with a small serrated knife, you peel it like a pineapple working top to bottom.

1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1-2 fresh hot green pepper (like jalapeño), seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt to taste

Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl.*  Seperately, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil until well combined then add to the onion and herb mixture.  Let stand for an hour before serving.

Note: For a finer texture, combine the first five ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse only a few seconds at a time to finely chop.  Proceed as directed.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. NibblingNomad #

    Beautiful beans – I’ve never seen them! They look like candy.

    12 July 2012
  2. Sam Pickering #

    In my area cranberry beans are also known as october beans. I have had them since I was a child. Their flavor would make for a very tasty meal.

    13 July 2012
  3. Teri #

    Hi Sofia-
    The big Cuban childhood cunundrum. A tropical country whose national cuisine’s menu offers them daily a slew of hearty stews, soups, potages to go along with their pork, red meat and chicken, and even more confusing an island country who barely has a national fish dish on the menu? Well later on I learn that we (as in all the Spaniards who colonized and Later immmigrated to Cuba-remember Cuba was a colony of Spain until almost 1900- the immigration from Spain to Cuba and back was continuous for centuries.) These Spaniards who are of course all of us today (although the island, too, has a significant African and other minor groups as a populace) the Spaniards created the national cuisine and this cuisine was brought over from Northern Spain, mostly- Galicia, Asturias, Catalunya, and Pais Vasco. I don’t want to leave out the Canary Islands since the immigration from here is also significant, but they are not Northern climate (even they eat hearty dishes, I imagine because they were at one point mainlanders). I know the beans are native to Cuba but the cooking techniques and other ingredients (onion, garlic, chorizo, ham hock, tocino, herbs) are not.
    Anyway, Humans are creatures of habit and even while standing in the sweltering heat of a tropical island all Cubans ate/eat their hearty stews and soups DAILY! At least I did too as did all my Cuban friends, neighbors and relatives growing up (in Cuba and out). What a beatiful thing to hold on to your culinary traditions even if absurd. I think frankly we accepted the absurdity of these warm stews daily in the summertime because they were truly delicious then as they still are today. I ate many a bowl of homeade Cuban stews daily, while sweating profusely and nervously wiping my forehead with napkin in one hand and soup spoon in the other. I even dared ask for seconds on most days. I still eat them all and make them all today. Till next entry.

    15 July 2012
  4. These have delicious and comfort written all over them. And in my opinion, worth enjoying even during a heatwave.

    17 July 2012
  5. I have never seen beans look so darn delicious 🙂 I’m definitely going to make these this summer…

    27 July 2012
  6. I love beans, and these look fantastic. Another dish to try soon.

    11 August 2012
  7. Mejor que el pebre es el “chancho en piedra”
    Muy parecido a lo que tú hiciste, pero con tomates.

    A tu receta le faltó “mazamorra”, sí porque a parte de colocar maíz en grano, en Chile usamos otra taza más de maíz molido y mezclado con albahaca. Esa es la “mazamorra”.

    Nunca los había visto cocinar con tomates, probaré que tal quedan así.

    Siempre los acompañamos de una “ensalada a la chilena” que es tomate y cebolla.

    Saludos cariñosos de caluroso Santiago de Chile

    25 January 2013
  8. One has to think by way of it before coming to a conclusion on about it,beautiful site I like the header. 8)(

    4 April 2013
  9. sera #

    Beautiful. Can’t wait to try making them! I grew up on porotos granados, and miss the elusive fragrant sweetness of just-shelled beans … why it’s so hard to find in N.Am (I’m in Canada) is a mystery …

    That said: the one thing that will be even harder to find here is the right kind of corn for this recipe. North American corn is almost exclusively the sweet peaches & cream kind. Traditional Chilean corn is less sweet, starchier, and more robust. (It may be as hard to find there these days as it is here – I haven’t been back in a long time …)

    Like Casazoo, I’ve also never seen porotos granados with tomatoes, but it does look like a good variation. And her suggestion to add mazamorra (1 cup ground fresh corn with macerated basil) will make the taste explode. In a good way of course!!

    3 June 2013
  10. That is very attention-grabbing, You’re an overly professional blogger.

    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to in search of more of your excellent
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    2 September 2013
  11. They are looking fabulous! I have my porrotos on the hob as we speak and am regretting I didn’t check your blog earlier to have the pebre ready … Great pictures too!

    30 April 2014
  12. Marisol Drack #

    I appreciate you sharing this wonderful recipe .
    Just one question: I lived in Nevada and I have never seen fresh canberry beans in my local supermarket or in any other market here in Las Vegas
    I would love, love to be able to cook this recipe with the original ingredients.
    Any idea how or where can I obtain them?
    Thank you,
    Marisol (Chile)

    12 July 2016

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