Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cranberry Bean with Zucchini, Acorn Squash Reduction with Corn and Marinara (No Added Fat)

I wanted to make a cranberry bean dish tonight. Here is what I did:

  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry beans soaked in ample water overnight (I soaked for about 15 hours, but 8-10 hours would have been plenty), with water optionally occasionally changed
  • Enough water to just cover the beans
  • Small zucchini cut into 3/8" cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Medium bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes (about a cup)
  • 1T finely minced (1/8" or so) ginger root
  • 1/2 medium onion cut into 3/8" cubes (approx. 1 cup), divided into 2 halves
  • (optional) about a 3/4" length of a jalapeno diced into 1/4" cubes (maybe 2T - but, of course, this can be to taste)
  • 1 T finely minced (approx. 1/8") ginger
  • 1T lime (or lemon) juice (I used Meyer lemon)
  • 1/4 t (or to taste) salt (I used kala namak)
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t turmeric

  1. I drained and rinsed the beans, then, adding enough fresh water to barely cover them, cooked on high pressure for 27 minutes in my Instant Pot pressure cooker.
  2. When I was ready to proceed, I slowly let out remaining pressure and opened the pot.
  3. I added the zucchini, bell pepper, ginger, and 1/2 cup onion, then cooked on high pressure for another 2 minutes.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I slowly released pressure, mixed in 1/2 cup onion, as well as the lime juice, salt, cumin, and turmeric, and served.
I also had some leftover butternut squash reduction. I added a little shallot, corn, and marinara sauce, and heated it for a nice side dish.


Dinner was very good! At first I said that I loved the main course - I did, but then I came to like the side course even more. The main course was a no-brainer - how could creamy, well cooked beans not result in a nice dish? The more surprising dish was the quick side. I made for a client a thick acorn squash soup a few days ago simply by high pressure steaming for 9 minutes uncut squashes then easily cutting them open, removing the skins, then blending the pulp with some broth. On a whim, tonight, I decided to add the marinara and corn, and they both turned out to be great ideas. The marinara, besides flavor, added a unique color and tempered the bright squash yellow. The corn added good texture and flavor.

Ideas for the future

I should do more with squash reductions. If I had added bell pepper, I'd have had a "three sisters" dish. I like cooked zucchini but rarely use it anymore as my daughter doesn't like it (tonight she had eaten most of her dinner when we visited a new nearby coop that just opened this past Wednesday, so I felt fine in cooking with zucchini since I knew she'd not eat much more), but hope that I can more frequently use it in my cooking.

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