This is a simplified take on a Spanish dish called alubias rojas con sacramentos. Instead of using multiple varieties of cured pork, as is traditional, we use only chorizo and heighten the flavor of the beans by cooking them in chicken broth. We also add both sweet and smoked paprika.–Christopher Kimball
*What are cranberry beans and Spanish chorizo?
Cranberry beans are approximately the size of kidney beans, but with a mottled reddish brown and white coloration. They’re also known as Roman beans or borlotti beans.
Don’t use fresh Mexican chorizo, as it has a different flavor and texture. Dry-cured Spanish chorizo, which typically is sold in small links and is firm like salami, is the correct type of sausage for this recipe.
Braised Cranberry Beans with Chorizo
- 6-quart Instant Pot or equivalent electric pressure cooker
- 2 1/4 cups (1 lb) dried cranberry beans* (also known as borlotti or Roman beans), rinsed and drained
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces Spanish chorizo*, casing removed, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- 1 large (10 1/2 oz) yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 quarts store-bought or homemade low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 small (8 ounces) head red cabbage, cored and finely chopped (about 4 cups)
- In a 6-quart Instant Pot or pressure cooker, stir together the beans, 2 teaspoons salt, the baking soda, and 6 cups water. Lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual and make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 5 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, carefully quick-release the steam by using the handle of a wooden spoon to move the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
- Using potholders, remove the insert from the housing of the Instant Pot and drain the beans in a colander. Return the insert to the housing. Rinse the beans under cool water.
- Select More/High Sauté on the Instant Pot. Add the oil and chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo releases its fat and begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in both paprikas, the crushed red pepper flakes, and the oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the broth and the beans, stirring to distribute evenly in the pot.
- For the fast method, press Cancel, lock the lid in place, and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual and make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 25 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 20 minutes, then carefully release the remaining steam by using the handle of a wooden spoon to move the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel and then carefully open the pot. For the slow method, with the pot still on More/High Sauté, bring the mixture to a boil. Press Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Venting. Select Slow Cook and set the temperature to More/High. Set the cooking time for 6 1/2 to 7 hours. The beans are done when they’re fully tender but still hold their shape. Press Cancel and then carefully open the pot.
- Stir the beans, then select More/High Sauté. Stir in the cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, about 8 minutes. Press Cancel to turn off the pot.
- Let the beans stand for 15 minutes, then taste and, if desired, season with more salt and pepper before serving.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
With the seasons changing and everyone wanting comfort where they can get it, this recipe is super hearty and easy to come together. This Spanish-style recipe doesn’t require anything super fancy and has very little hands-on time thanks to the Instant Pot.
The dish itself is a meal in a bowl with a thick and slightly spicy gravy that holds just perfectly fall-apart beans and pieces of chorizo that all melt together. The spices in the dish come together beautifully on their own but a good sprinkle of kosher salt at the end truly elevates it to perfection. Even though it definitely isn’t traditional to this dish, I added in a little spoonful of plain Greek yogurt to add a little acidic tang and I thought it complemented the dish perfectly but would happily eat multiple bowls just as is. A truly great recipe.
I use the Fast Method and the beans were very tender and fall-apart after the cooking process. For the cabbage, I tested after 5 minutes and they had a bit of a crunch and I wanted it to soften more so I opted to go for the full 8 minutes but if someone wants the texture change I would stop after 5.
I have received high-fives on two occasions for food I have cooked: one was for a skillet chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and the other was this cranberry bean recipe. How can a humble pot of beans receive similar accolades, you ask? First you start with a process that works to the letter (no surprises here) and slowly build flavor with chouriço, onions, a generous portion of spices, and chicken broth. The cabbage adds some texture to the otherwise silky bean pot with its glossy, thick liquor. I found I didn’t need to add any extra salt or pepper at the end, and loved it just how it was. This will be a regular from now on.
I used Hunza Organic cranberry beans from Wisconsin and homemade chicken stock I already had in my freezer. I relied on the Fast Method using an Instant Pot Ultra. Beans were tender, if not slightly past. Nearly no resistance at all…and I’m fine with that.