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Any type of dried bean with kidney shape.
The most common are -
Black beans: these beans are black and shiny, and similar to the better-known red kidney bean. They are popular in the southern states of the U.S.A. and the Caribbean.
Borlotti beans: these are a pale colour, but with red streaks. They are popular in Italy.
Cannellini beans: small white beans that are interchangeable with haricots. Popular in Italy.
Flageolet beans: these are young haricots beans, removed from their pods before they are completely ripe. Thus they are a delicate green, sweet and tender. They are more expensive than other common varieties.
Haricot beans: these are the creamy-coloured variety generally used for baked beans, and the type used for modern cassoulets in South West France. In America they are often known as navy beans.
Pinto beans: a shorter, fatter version of borlotti beans - they are speckled with a savoury flavour.
Red kidney beans: these are full-flavoured dark red beans, which have become traditional for chilli con carne. See Chili con Carne
As with all pulses great care should be taken to cook all these beans at a rolling boil for at least ten minutes, before they are simmered.
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