Kidney beans are a cultivar of the common bean. Cooked kidney beans (without salt) can be served as a side dish or used as an ingredient for soups and stews. They are most famous as a main ingredient in Chilli con Carne, for which there are many delicious meatless alternatives.
From Wikipedia: “The kidney bean is a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) bean. It is named for its visual resemblance in shape and color to a kidney. Red kidney beans should not be confused with other red beans, such as adzuki beans.”
“There are different classifications of kidney beans, such as:
“Red kidney beans are commonly used in chilli con carne and are an integral part of the cuisine in northern regions of India, where the beans are known as rajma and are used in a dish of the same name. Red kidney beans are used in New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana for the classic Monday Creole dish of red beans and rice. The smaller, darker red beans are also used, particularly in Louisiana families with a recent Caribbean heritage. Small kidney beans used in La Rioja, Spain, are called caparrones. In the Netherlands and Indonesia, kidney beans are usually served as soup called brenebon.”
“Raw kidney beans contain relatively high amounts of phytohemagglutinin, and thus are more toxic than most other bean varieties if not pre-soaked and subsequently heated to the boiling point for at least 10 minutes. The US Food and Drug Administration recommends boiling for 30 minutes to ensure they reach a sufficient temperature long enough to completely destroy the toxin. Cooking at the lower temperature of 80 °C (176 °F), such as in a slow cooker, can increase this danger and raise the toxin concentration up to fivefold. Canned red kidney beans, though, are safe to use immediately.”
Advantages of dried beans:
White beans sold commercially (as well as other types of beans and legumes) are generally either dried or precooked and canned. While the canned variety is naturally easier and quicker to use, the dried beans have a better taste. And when you cook them at home, you can decide how firm you want them to be (Canned beans are often soft or even mushy). In addition, canned beans often contain unnecessary additives or added salt. As a result, it is best to use natural dried beans whenever possible.