Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit

ranchogordobeans.jpg

I’ve always had a cholesterol problem, but thanks to some great pharmaceutical interventions, I’m able to eat a fairly unhealthy diet — red meat, eggs, cream in my coffee. But as we teach our children, just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. Thus, my beef, pork and lamb consumption is really limited to once or twice a week. I’m really into boneless chicken thighs from the local Whole Foods, but I don’t have those more than once a week. Of course, seafood is a primary component of my diet when I’m looking for more protein.

But the one item I’ve added to my regular meal rotation that gets me excited the most is — drum roll, please — beans. Yup, beans. But not just any ol’ beans. I’m not talking about cans of pintos or kidneys or cannelini from the Harris Teeter. I also couldn’t settle on bags of dried beans off the grocery shelves, either. No, my beans are Rancho Gordo heirloom beans from the Sacramento River Delta of California. Now I know we’re supposed to be buying local products, but I just haven’t found that Johnston County dried bean farmer yet. So, I’m going to stick with the beans from Rancho Gordo and its owner, Steve Sando. With varieties such as Santa Maria Pinquito, Good Mother Stallard, or Yellow Indian Woman beans, there’s no shortage of interesting colors and flavors here. Yes, folks, I must admit — I have become a bean snob, and I’ll never be able to thoroughly enjoy a regular grocery store legume again. Damn you, Sando! However, I really can’t say enough good things about these legumes, as they are the freshest, best tasting beans I’ve ever tried. No, they’re not cheap at 5 bucks for a one pound bag, but that bag will feed 6 people when you cook some rice, too. Plus, the shipping cost is a flat $8, no matter how many bags you order.

What makes these beans even better is the recent discovery of an extremely simple and fool-proof cooking method. You do not soak the beans — that doesn’t affect the flavor nor does it minimize the gastric side effects (food writer Russ Parsons has debunked these old myths). You do not have to cook them all day long. This is as fool-proof as it gets, and to call it a recipe is a bit much — it’s really just a matter of throwing a few ingredients in a pot and waiting for nature (and heat) to run their courses. It was Russ Parson himself who first promoted this cooking method, but I learned about it on the eG Forums of the eGullet Society. I’ve “perfected” the technique for Raleigh’s water system.

You simply sweat some onion, garlic and carrot in your choice of oil (of course, duck fat is ideal, which is as healthy as olive oil, but the olive oil will work for vegetarian meals), add your beans to coat with the oil, and then add about three times as much water. Add a half teaspoon or so of salt (another myth: salt does not harm the beans). Bring to a boil, cover, and throw the pot into a 275°F oven. After 60 minutes, stir, add a bit of water if needed, and re-cover. After another hour, stir one more time, put the lid back on, and then turn off the oven. Allow to cool in the oven (I often leave the pot in the oven overnight, although if you’re more concerned about micro-critters growing in there than I am, you’ll want to let it sit only an hour or two more). Your beans will be done — plump, tender, and completely intact. These won’t be mushy beans, they’ll be nirvana. If you want tomatoes or other acids in your beans, don’t add those until the last half hour of cooking (you may want to pre-cook the tomatoes), as the acidity will prevent the beans from softening. Now if your water has a high mineral content or has a fairly low pH (i.e., somewhat acidic), it may take your beans longer to cook. You can solve the problem somewhat by using filtered water.

Even my 11-year old, soccer-playing, hyper-picky eating daughter loves these beans and has started to make them her pre-practice snack. Protein, fiber, and some carbs — with lots of flavor and little fat. Sounds like a great snack to me.

Give these beans and this cooking method a try. You’ll soon be converted, too.

About these ads

34 Responses to Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit

  1. detlef says:

    You might want to check out Phipps Bean Ranch. I used to buy from them when I had a restaurant down the road from them in Santa Cruz. I recall coming up with a special planning to use their beans. Due to complications, I was unable to make it to their store the day before the new menu, so I subbed some beans I had on hand. The next day, I managed to make it out there and picked some up. After I cooked them off, I could not, in good faith, serve the one’s I’d made before. The difference was simply too big. My poor staff was stuck with those beans for staff meal for days.

    http://www.phippscountry.com/beanlist.htm

  2. Varmint says:

    Wow, thanks for the tip, Charlie. Those beans cost less than Rancho Gordo’s, so I’ll give them a try. Do you have any plans for these styles of beans at Dos Perros? As you’ve seen, just like me, the stuff we can get from local suppliers is god-awful when compared to these.

  3. detlefchef says:

    In a word…yes.

  4. Varmint says:

    I did notice that the shipping costs are a lot more with Phipps Bean Ranch. For their beans that cost 4 bucks a pound, the Rancho Gordo option may be cheaper.

    Anyhow, I’m stoked that you’ll be using top-grade beans. No surprise, however.

  5. Varmint says:

    Rancho Gordo is mentioned in the December issue of Gourmet, calling the beans “delicious bites of history” and praising them for their “wild colors and velvety texture.”

    These beans really, truly rock. Get some today!

  6. detlef says:

    So, loyalty won out and I’ve been using Phipps (though there’s really no reason not to try out your boys at Rancho Gordo especially if I can save a buck or two…). Thanks, BTW, for the thread that reminded me about great beans. At any rate, we got our first shipment a few weeks ago and they’re as good as I remembered. Amazing, actually. We’ve been making our own version of Cassoulet with them. Chinese sausage, five-spice duck confit, etc. Served along side a batch of Asian greens.

    The varieties we’ve gotten are the huge white beans (Gigantes), Yellow-eyed Stubens, Painted Pony, and Autumn Bounty. All really pretty and tender as a mothers love.

  7. Varmint says:

    Beans are the poor forgotten stepchild of the culinary world. This topic has had as little traffic as any since I started this blog, and I just want to stand on a mountain top and yell, “People!!! Wake up! Don’t you understand that beans can be really delicious and a main part of your diet?”

    Whether they’re from Rancho Gordo or Phipps makes no difference to me, but beans rock my world.

    I made a pasta e fagioli for Thanksgiving using Rancho Gordo flageolet. Awesome flavor, without any use of pork products.

    I think I’ll order a bunch more right now!!

  8. durhamfood says:

    Beans are great! I’m thinking of making this tonight for potluck: http://desertcandy.blogspot.com/2007/10/speckled-butter-bean-shakshouka-with.html

    We got some speckled beans a week ago from Brinkley, and this sounds yummy.

  9. Varmint says:

    I just ordered the following:

    Yellow Indian Woman Bean
    Vallarta Bean
    Santa Maria Pinquito Bean
    Mayacoba Bean
    Flageolet Bean
    Nightfall (Red) Bean
    Yellow Eye Beans
    Cranberry Bean- Cargamanto
    Florida Butter Bean

    Yum!!

  10. Varmint says:

    Just to let everyone know that we here at VarmintBites are truly on the culinary cutting edge, Rancho Gordo beans were just included in the Saveur 100, THE list of all that is cool and hip in the food world. :-) In fact, they were listed as the #2 item, not that the list is in any particular order.

    OK, smug smile is now gone.

  11. […] Rack of Pork with Heirloom Beans, Asparagus, and Veal […]

  12. Healthy says:

    Gardening…

    Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit « VarmintBites…

  13. soft water says:

    soft water…

    […]Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit « VarmintBites[…]…

  14. Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing a few months of hard work due to
    no data backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  15. Just how to complete levels in Temple Operate two?

  16. videos says:

    Hello there, You have done an excellent job.
    I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.

  17. Estella says:

    Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your
    website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your
    blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your
    augment and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

  18. Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I have read
    stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this web site.

  19. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone
    else encountering problems with your site.
    It appears as if some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else
    please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This might be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Kudos

  20. You can check out the new screenshots in the slideshow at the top of this article.
    He’s already breaking laws by coming after you in the first place.
    Buying EVE ISK online allows them to buy weapons and items that are required for levelling-up in the gaming structure.

  21. I am really delighted to glance at this blog posts which carries
    plenty of useful information, thanks for providing these kinds of data.

  22. Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a
    little bit more. Many thanks!

  23. Hello to every one, since I am truly keen of reading this blog’s post to be updated on a regular basis.
    It carries fastidious information.

  24. Sybil says:

    I seldom leave remarks, but i did a few searching and wound up
    here Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit | VarmintBites.

    And I actually do have 2 questions for you
    if it’s allright. Could it be only me or does it
    look like a few of these comments look as if they are coming from brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing on other places, I’d like to keep up with
    everything fresh you have to post. Could you list of the complete urls of your community pages like your twitter feed,
    Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  25. I have read so many posts on the topic of the blogger lovers however this piece of writing is
    genuinely a good article, keep it up.

  26. Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make
    my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Many thanks

  27. ez up Tents says:

    Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
    Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!

    Keep up the great work!

  28. Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit | VarmintBites
    michael kors handbags austin tangerine http://www.familien-deleuran.dk/css/favion.html

  29. Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit | VarmintBites
    fake mk bedford satchel http://beckers-pandrup.dk/css.html

  30. Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit | VarmintBites
    factory store michael kors http://www.verdensmester.dk/dinet/css/icons.html

  31. Beans, Beans, the Truly Magical Fruit | VarmintBites
    cheap mk handbags http://bryandark.dk/img/inc.html

  32. There are many hotels that are situated across the street from the beach or
    within walking distance. Punta Gorda is situated about 30 miles north of Fort Myers.
    Just in case this South Carolina vacation destination is completely new to you.

  33. Sheila says:

    Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article
    to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  34. wow heirloom says:

    What’s up friends, how is everything, and what you would like to say concerning this piece of writing, in my view its
    really awesome in favor of me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,958 other followers

%d bloggers like this: