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The Flageolet Bean

May 11th, 2009 · 9 Comments · Pantry Staples


I fell in love with green flageolet bean over ten years ago when I lived for the summer in a small village in France. Yes, thats right, I fell in love with a bean. I was so smitten that I insisted that my mother purchase a box to return to the states with… a box which tragically has been sitting in our pantry for the past ten years.

This was a terrible oversight. The green flageolet, the “caviar of beans”, is a prized bean in French cooking, and tastes really brilliant. I was so excited to find is being cultivated here in California by my favorite bean source, Rancho Gordo (just a few weeks ago given nod to in the NYTimes)!

Today’s lunch was a simple bowl of rice and beans. I soaked a cup of beautiful green Rancho Gordo flageolet beans overnight, and sauteed them with a half an onion for fifteen minutes before covering them with some chicken stock and simmering for an hour and a half, adding water whenever the liquid decreased too much. The beans become soft, meaty, and unlike any other beans, and you can serve them simply with rice, or, as I had planned originally, with lamb. (I, upon taking the lamb out of the freezer today after half way cooking my beans, realized that I had failed to remember the directions for the Trader Joe’s frozen lamb rack which specifically states to defrost overnight before cooking. Yes, I should start getting lamb racks at the butcher store, but the frozen ones are so convenient to have in case you want to eat well without leaving your house for two days. God, that’s a bad excuse.)

They also taste delicious as a cold salad with lemon oil dressing, freshly cracked pepper, and some parsley.


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9 Comments so far ↓

  • Philomena

    Your post has completely inspired me – I need to find some of these beans!

  • EGT

    The original beans we bought in France were consumed years ago! The box in the pantry was purchased either at Zabar’s in NY or in Boston a few years ago! Hmmmmmm…. maybe I’ll defrost those Trader Joe’s racks of lamb and …..

  • lisaiscooking

    They sound great. I’m a fan of all kinds of beans, but I’ve never cooked green flageolets. One more I need to try!

  • Nicole

    You forgot that they should be cooked with a bit of rosemary and garlic, just like the lamb! In France we used to find them canned. They do very well that way.

    • Sam

      Yes! Well, sometimes I add herbs to the cooking water, although I like the “pure” taste of the bean ‘pot liquor’ the bean cooking water – particularly with really freshly dried beans such as the ones from Rancho Gordo. I’ve tried the canned, but I really love the fresh!

  • dan

    Just rediscovered these beans at our local farmers market…Not sure if they do mail order but I wouldn’t be surpised…Bon appetit

  • A First (and Last) Supper at Campanile: Goodbye to a Los Angeles Classic « parker deren

    […] for a warm October evening.  The grilled pork chops with saffron orzo and aged prime rib with flageolet beans, bitter greens, black olive tapenade seem best served in weather under seventy degrees. (Welcome […]

  • sophie

    those beans in the photo above look nothing like rancho gordo flageolets, but they are very pretty– care to share the source? i’ve never seen such green flags…

  • sophie

    The dried beans in that photo are four times the size and much much greener than RG’s flageolets— I wonder if he’s using different seeds than he used to? Have you tried them recently? They look totally different. I love them, but in the three years I’ve been buying them I have never seen them look anything like that photo.

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