Royal Corona Bean and Wild Mushroom Stew

Because I’ve always been intimidated by dried beans, I thought it might be a good idea to join the Rancho Gordo Bean Club. The company has a well-deserved reputation for high-quality products and offers a wide variety of heirloom beans, many of which cannot be found on supermarket shelves.  So, when, after two years on their waiting list, they notified me a club membership was available, I quickly signed up for quarterly shipments of six packs of beans. To date, I’ve received three deliveries and have only cooked four packs of beans, the last of which inspired today’s post: Royal Corona Bean and Wild Mushroom Stew.

Having had some success with my three previous segues into bean cooking, I decided to attempt something more daring. Rather than following the package direction for cooking the beans, I used a recipe from Alison Roman that called for cooking the beans without soaking them, uncovered, at a bare simmer for one to two hours in a rather unorthodox broth. In addition, the bean-stew recipe from the Rancho Gordo newsletter called for a couple of brand-name ingredients as well as for Swiss chard that I didn’t have on hand. But being in a daring mood, I decided to make some substitutions.

Well, my intrepid foray into bean cooking hit a few snags along the way. My beans took close to five and a half hours to cook and still were a little more al dente than I would have preferred. Likewise, the supermarket’s replacement of baby kale for the fresh kale I ordered didn’t deliver the flavor or texture I had expected.  On the brighter side of things, however, the cooking method of the beans yielded a mighty flavorful broth owing largely to its use of caramelized onions, garlic, and lemon along with dried chiles. Similarly, my substituting more dried porcini for the recipe’s brand-name seasoning blend as well as replacing the called for miso with tahini spiked with soy sauce gave the stew the woodsy and umami flavors I was looking for.

If you’re wondering if this attempt did anything to boost my confidence in bean cooking, the answer is no. Although the stew was rich and satisfying with plenty of flavor, I don’t think it was worth the effort.  Yet, I still have more than a dozen packages of beans to go through, so I’ll continue to continue my quest to gain more confidence when it comes to beans. One lesson I did learn from making this dish is that it’s probably better to pre-soak dried beans overnight before cooking.

Part 1: The Beans (adapted fromA Pot of Brothy Beans” by Alison Roman)



1/4 cup olive oil
2 small or 1 large onion, quartered through the root (Peeling not necessary.)
1 or 2 heads garlic, halved crosswise (Peeling not necessary.)
1 lemon, halved crosswise
1 small bunch or a few sprigs dried herbs like oregano, marjoram, thyme or rosemary
a few dried chiles (or one fresh one, halved lengthwise)
1 pound dried Royal Corona beans
6 or so cups water (I needed at least 8 cups to cover the beans.)
Kosher salt

Prepped Ingredients


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions, garlic and lemon. Cook until they’re caramelized and nicely browned, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Heating Oil
Cooking aromatics
Adding onions, garlic, and lemon

2. Add dried herbs and chiles. Add beans and water. Season with salt, bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a bare simmer, leave the pot uncovered and cook until they are cooked. This can take anywhere from 50 to 120 minutes depending on the size and age of the bean. (My beans took 5 ½ hours to reach a semi al dente stage.)

Adding dried herbs and chiles
Adding salt
Adding beans and water
Cooked Beans

Part 2: Royal Corona Bean and Wild Mushroom Stew (Adapted from a recipe by Staffan Terje of Wine Forest)



¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large red onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1quart lukewarm water for 20 minutes.
6 cups cooked Royal Corona Beans, cooking liquid reserved
2 tablespoons red miso (I substituted 2 tablespoons of tahini mixed with a teaspoon of soy sauce.)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bunch Swiss chard (I substituted kale.)
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving
Extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

Prepped Ingredients


1. In a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil.

Heating the oil

2. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Adding the onions
Adding the garlic
Browned onions and garlic

3. Lift the soaked porcini mushrooms out of the soaking water and chop into ½-inch pieces. Add to the pot and stir.

Adding drained mushrooms

4. Strain the porcini soaking water through a fine-mesh strainer or coffee filter. Do this slowly, as any sand particles will settle on the bottom of the bowl. (Depending on the quality of your mushrooms, you may not need to rinse and sieve as described. Because mine had just a little sediment , they did not need rinsing or passing through a sieve. I simply poured the soaking liquid slowly into another bowl and stopped when I saw the sediment at the bottom of the bowl.)

5. Add the miso and thyme to the pot and stir, then add the beans, bean-cooking liquid, and porcini-soaking water. Add more water if necessary to cover the contents of the pot. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Adding miso (or substitute) and thyme
Adding soaking liquid
Adding beans
Adding some water

6. Wash the chard and cut out the white stems. Cut the green leaves into 1-inch pieces, then slice the chard stems into 1-inch pieces.

7. Add the cut chard leaves and stems to the pot and simmer until softened, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Adding greens (Swiss chard or in this case kale)

8. Add the chopped parsley. At this point, the beans should barley be covered with liquid that should be rich and nicely coat a spoon. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Adding parsley
Finished stew

9. Serve as a side dish or a main course. This stew can be served over large pasta like rigatoni or accompanied by polenta or thick slices of toasted crusty bread. Finish with good olive oil and a good grating of Parmigiano Reggiano. (I served ours with a side of creamy polenta.)


Serves 4 to 6

Wine Pairing: Rosso di Montalcino, Cabernet Sauvignon

6 thoughts on “Royal Corona Bean and Wild Mushroom Stew

  1. This Royal Corona Bean and Wild Mushroom Stew is a great dish to enjoy during fall or winter. The beans are cooked slowly in a rich and flavorful broth, with a variety of fresh herbs and spices. The end result is a delicious and satisfying meal.

  2. I know how you feel with those ten bags of Rancho Gordo beans. My current collection is down to only six bags. Fortunately, they last well. For Super Bowl today, we’re doing a chili with Santa Maria Pinquitos — our very favorite RG variety.

  3. This sounds tremendous, Roland – and given our love of your previous bean posts, we will definitely try this recipe. We had no idea a bean club existed (we will get on that waiting list, as my roommate(s) are big bean people (both Tricia and our one cat – who will quite literally hurt you over a bean. And Tricia once made a New Year’s resolution (for us both) to eat more legumes, so….). We also feel your pain on those no-soak bean recipes (yet to find one that works as promised). Thanks for this!

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