I always look at the dried beans available when I grocery shop. Last week I saw a variety I had not noticed before called Lupini Beans by Ziyad. In fact they were even marked at a 50% discount. Well, I'll usually try anything once, so into my basket they went.
The directions on the back of the package say to keep changing the water until the bitterness disappears. Hmmmm, good thing I read the directions, and even then went to the internet to find out more info, before just cooking them up like other beans.
I learned that lupini beans are commonly consumed in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, often eaten like popcorn at bars or movie theatres. I also learned that they contain bitter molecules called alkaloids that do need to be removed by repeated soakings before eating (both from a taste perspective but also from a health perspective as these molecules can lead to a variety of unwanted side effects). After all this reading, I finally noticed that the bag I picked up said it was "small sweet" variety, which means it has been bred to have lower amount of these alkaloids that need removing.
So I did the soaking, cooking for an hour, then soaking, soaking, soaking, soaking, yes soaking and throwing away the water for 5 days. No way was I going to accidentally poison myself or guests. :-)
After all this soaking, they can be served drizzled with olive oil and freshly ground pepper. I served them last Saturday night along with pasta and a spring greens salad. They are not soft like other cooked beans but have a little heft to them. The skins are a little tough, they can be slipped off, but they are edible.
Lupini beans do have a high protein content (almost as high as soybeans) so they are great to serve as an appetizer or side dish when the meal does not have a major protein source. The internet info says that they last a long time kept refrigerated in a brine solution. I cooked up the entire 1# bag, which made about 4 cups of cooked and soaked beans. I have some still in my refrigerator, but I have actually frozen the remaining beans to use at a later time.
We did have guests for dinner. Here is the blessing we used. It seemed appropriate for this boisterous group!
I sent out invitations
To summon guests.
I collected together all my friends
And ample feasting;
Discussion of philosophy,
Investigation of subtleties.
And minds at one.
By discharge of emotion!
~~ Ch'eng-kung Sui (died AD 273)
Good food and good friends do lead to refreshed hearts!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD