With no delivery or restaurant options available in Peru due to lockdown, I’m left to cook every single day—which, to be honest, gets old really fast. Creating recipes or cooking with ingredients that have flexibility and easily reheat have been my main focus lately. For me, beans—from canary beans to tarwi—are the answer to both goals. They’re easy to cook in bulk and can be used in recipes throughout the week.
This recipe uses three of my favorite ingredients available in Peru. Canary beans (or canario), yellow pumpkin and aji amarillo. These are all available in most stores and markets in Peru. For those who have live abroad, you can likely find options for these ingredients so you can still cook up a batch.
Canary beans are yellow when dry but turn an off-white, beige color when cooked. The beans have a neutral flavor which easily absorbs the flavor of the accompanying ingredients. Not to mention, they cook up with a creamy texture. They remind me a lot of cannellini beans. These are generally available outside Peru in local grocery stores or online.
Yellow pumpkin, referred to as zapallo or pumpkin depending on who you ask in Peru, is a part of the squash family. It doesn’t hold its shape when cooked but instead breaks apart making it perfect for soups or a bowl of beans. If you are back home, any winter squash such as butternut, kabocha or buttercup will work. The vegetable may stay more intact in your dish but will still taste great.
The aji amarillo is my favorite Peruvian aji pepper and I cook with it whenever I have the opportunity. It has a brilliant color and a slightly fruity flavor. I use an entire aji with seeds but if you prefer less heat, be sure to deseed your aji first. The easiest way to do this is to cut the aji in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides with a spoon. You can also add more or less aji depending on your desired level of spice.
If you are preparing this recipe outside of Peru and don’t have access to fresh aji amarillo, a paste made from the peppers is often available. Read more about sourcing Peruvian ingredients outside of Peru here.
Makes 5-6 cups
Once you have your batch of beans cooked, eat them up in different presentations so you feel like each day is an exciting new meal. Here are some favorites:
One batch of this canary bean recipe makes about 5-6 cups cooked. It also freezes well so cooking a double batch is a way to save some time and effort for future meals. Batch cooking beans means less trips to the store, less time in the kitchen and less stress in life.
All photos by Lyn Croyle/CookEatLiveLove.com