We had Scarlet Runner beans in the test garden along with sweet, end-of-the-season tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and jalapeños. And in the test kitchen, there was awesome merguez sausage from a local company, Fabrique Délices. In my head, this fall bean recipe was cooked and ready to eat! But first I had to do a little harvesting.


Scarlet Runner beans, ready for harvestThe beans had dried up nicely in the pods, letting me know they were ready for shelling and cooking or storing in containers. (You can also pick Scarlet Runners before they’ve dried and cook them in that moister stage, or shell them, dry them on a tray, and then store them.)

I squeezed the papery husks to release the beans, and look what I got.

Huge, gorgeous Scarlet Runner beans and fall vegetablesThe runner beans were almost too beautiful to cook, but I started thinking about their meaty, floury texture and rich flavor, and before I knew it, the stew was done and flying out of the kitchen!

Here's the recipe.

P.S. If you’re planning ahead for your spring garden, it’s easy to grow seeds in pots. And here’s how to build a tipi for the runner beans to climb.

Scarlet Runner bean and merguez stew


1 large onion, chopped

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 good-sized jalapeño chile, chopped

2 cups total chopped yellow and red bell peppers

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups Scarlet Runner beans, soaked overnight in cool water

6 cups chicken broth

12 oz. merguez sausage

2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes

Kosher salt and pepper

Chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. In a pot, sauté onion, 2 tbsp. oil, chile, and peppers until softened. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes more. Spoon out half of this mixture and save it.

2. Drain beans and add to pot with broth. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 1 1/2 hours (this time depends a bit on how dry the beans are).

3. Cut sausages into chunks and brown them in a frying pan in the remaining oil. Stir in tomatoes and reserved pepper mixture and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan. Scrape all this into the bean pot.

4. Simmer beans uncovered until flavors are blended, about 15 minutes. Ladle out some liquid if you’d like a thicker stew. Season the stew to taste with salt, pepper, and parsley.

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