Cooking with dried cranberry beans is much different than cooking with fresh beans. They take a while to cook, but they are really delicious and a great source of fiber and protein. The cranberry beans have a nutty flavor and I love the beautiful color of the beans. This is the kind of dish that you can do on a weekend, it makes a big batch so you can use the leftovers for lunches during the week or make a pot for a big family gathering.
These beans are really tasty with a beef or pork roast or great on their own. I added some baked prosciutto as a crunchy topping for this recipe, but you can leave out the prosciutto and make the beans and serve with brown basmati rice for a complete vegetarian protein. It can become your version of red beans and rice!
The dried beans need to be soaked before you cook them. It takes about two hours for the soaking process, something you can easily do in a crock pot or heavy pot on the stove.
Once the beans have softened, they are not yet cooked through, you can either set them aside until later for finishing or you can continue to cook the beans by adding the additional liquids and spices. In total, it will take about 3-4 hours to cook the beans, depending on big of a batch you make. You want to serve them warm.