skip to content
The World Bean Kitchen: Passport to Flavor

Dry Beans: Feasting in the Global Kitchen

You don't have to get on a plane to taste one of the glories of Brazilian cooking... or a bubbling cassoulet from Southwest France... or a Tuscan soup that tastes like somebody's grandmother made it. Beans can take you there.

With dry beans in the pantry, you have a passport to travel the globe. In kitchens the world over, cooks start the day by soaking beans. Later, they add the ingredients that stamp the beans with the signature of their place — from salt cod in Portugal or paprika in Spain to epazote in Mexico, cumin in Cuba or a ham bone in America's Deep South. For chefs and home cooks, dry beans open a window to the world.

The pages that follow will debunk some of the myths that surround the cooking of dry beans. You'll also find ideas for using beans to entice the “almost vegetarian” diner, and inspiration from the many countries where beans are revered. Recipes developed by the chefs at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone will demonstrate classic and contemporary bean dishes. And in several streaming videos, you can watch the chefs prepare these recipes and perhaps pick up some new cooking techniques.