Heirloom Orca beans have clearly been an inspiration to cooks and gardeners. In addition to the whale-reference name, the legumes are also called vaquero (which means cowboy in Spanish) and calypso beans. Creamy and starchy, Orca beans work well in hearty soups and stews. If you can’t find Orcas, you can use cranberry beans as a substitute.
YIELD: SERVES 8
2½ tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1½ cups)
1 large carrot, chopped (¾ cup)
1 celery stalk, chopped (½ cup)
2½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
3 cups chopped savoy cabbage or kale (7 oz.)
3 cups chopped Swiss chard (12 oz.)
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups cooked Orca beans, 2 cups cooking liquid reserved
5 cloves garlic, minced (5 tsp.)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
2 cups rustic Italian bread cubes
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, optional
- Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 8 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add carrot, celery, and Italian seasoning; sauté 5 minutes, or until celery is softened. Stir in cabbage, Swiss chard, and tomatoes; cook 15 minutes, or until cabbage and chard have wilted. Stir in broth, beans with reserved cooking liquid, garlic, and chipotle chile. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Add bread cubes to soup, gently stir, and cook 5 minutes more, or until bread is soaked. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve sprinkled with cheese (if using). If making the soup ahead, reserve bread to add at the time of reheating, just before serving.
HEIRLOOM JEWELS Shapely, speckled, and colorful heirloom beans can add interest and extra flavor to everyday bean dishes. To use them, simply substitute a similar-sized heirloom bean for the type called for in a recipe.
Protein: 7 g
Total Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: <1 g
Carbohydrates: 29 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 276 mg
Fiber: 10 g
Sugar: 6 g