The other day I scooped up a load of shell beans grown on a local farm. They may have been cranberry beans; they weren't labeled, and it's been a dozen years since I grew them myself, so I'm not sure. The glossy beans popped easily from their thin, leathery pods. Some were nearly burgundy, others pale green.
I simmered them for about forty-five minutes with bay and a little olive oil. Once they were tender, I drained them and sautéed with garlic and lots of cracked black pepper.
They were wonderful: lightly browned and crisp on the outside, creamy and sweet and earthy on the inside. Served with a drizzle of fruity olive oil, crusty bread, and salad, they made a perfect fall meal.