Sunday, February 21, 2010

do you have rancho gordo beans in your pantry?...and a recipe for preparing heirloom dried beans

growing up, my mom was the cook in the family...she was the mom that prepared dinner from scratch every night...every night....well, to be accurate, that would be 99% of the time. the other 1% were "bean nights". my dad...who was born in texas...does not cook...he barbecues sometimes...but about once every month or two he prepares his special pot of pinto beans. he starts soaking the beans the night before...and then puts them on to cook first thing in the morning. his recipe is very simple....but full of taste...and we would eat them for dinner with some type of bbq meat, salad and cornbread...really delicious. there were always a ton of beans left a beloved sunday breakfast was the leftover beans heated up and served with bacon and flour tortillas (can you tell i am from southern california?)

between my love of those beans...and my love of mexican food...and the number of ways italians add beans to recipes....i can honestly say that i am a bean lover. in a blog post last year, i told you that mangiafagioli meant bean eater in italian...well i am a massive mangiafagioli. so i was absolutely thrilled to discover the company rancho gordo. have you heard of them? if not...continue reading this post and then go buy some of their beans! you will not be disappointed... a bit about rancho gordo...steve sando started the company here in napa because he was very interested in preserving ingredients indigenous to the americas...he tells his story this way:

"All of my agricultural pursuits have been based on being someone who likes to cook but gets frustrated by the lack of ingredients, especially those that are native to the New World. It seems to me these indigenous ingredients should be familiar, if not common but instead our own food is considered exotic and sometimes in danger of being lost as we pursue a watered down Euro-centric diet. American cuisine seems to be in a position of re-inventing itself and I'd love to include ingredients, traditions and recipes from south of the border as part of the equation. I love the concept of The Americas. I feel as if it's just as important as the European heritage many of us share.

Of course you don't need to know where food originates in order to enjoy it. The beans are amazing and work in almost every cuisine. Their roots may be Mexican but can you imagine anything more French than the Flageolet bean? Borlotti may be the pride of the Piedmont in Italy but they wouldn't exist without their roots in Colombia. "

so he began working with local farmers to grow heirloom beans and other ingredients. he started selling at the san francisco ferry building farmer's market and was quickly discovered by many local chefs who became fans of his products. today it is very common to dine in restaurants which emphasize quality local ingredients and see rancho gordo beans on the menu...specialty food shops began carrying the brand...and steve sells on his website...but a highlight for me was last year when he opened his shop here in last...i can buy the beans as often as i want.
last time i visited rancho gordo i bought three kinds of beans and a bag of posole (hominy). i am going to create a different recipe for each type of beans and post to the blog. i also plan to share more of steve's story with you...he is doing some amazing an example his rancho gordo-Xoxoc project helps small farmers...this deserves a story of its own.
i purchased three heirloom bean varieties...they have any where from 20-30 types available at a given i started with the rio zape, the borlotti and the xoxoc project ayocote negro (black beans). dried heirloom beans are so different from what you find in the grocery store...for one thing they are beautiful...just amazing of my favorite displays in the rancho gordo shop is a big bowl of dried beans with a sign that says "go know you want to" is virtually impossible to refrain from sticking your hand in the beans!! the tactile sensation is too tempting...and it really does feel good... the beans are also incredibly fresh...fresh dried beans taste better and are easier and faster to prepare... i could go on and on...but instead i will share a recipe...and save the rest of the stories for later...
i decided to make my dad's beans...but use the rio zape instead of pinto. rio zape taste a bit like a pinto but with hints of coffee and chocolate. steve sando says "this is the bean that started the whole thing" he tasted one and started the company...definitely the first one to share with you.
so about the bean is so simple and delicious you will probably find yourself making beans often. i tweaked the cooking instructions a bit to follow rancho gordo's suggestions. the basic recipe contains very few ingredients...and, really want to taste these beans...once i make this recipe i have enough leftover to use in many different dishes....but mostly i eat them as is....with flour tortillas....i love you dad...

my dad's beans
1 16 oz package rancho gordo rio zape dried beans (or 16 oz best quality pinto beans)
1 chopped white onion
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and minced
1 bottle beer
sea salt
check beans for small pebbles or other foreign matter...discard and then rinse in cool water. place beans in large stockpot and cover with two inches of water. soak for 4-6 hours.
meanwhile, sauté onion and carrot in olive oil until soft. add jalapeños and sauté for another minute or not season.once beans have completed their soaking time add onion mixture to the stockpot. add beer and stir. beans should be covered with about an inch of liquid. add additional water if needed. bring to a boil for five minutes and then lower heat to simmer. cook until soft (this can take between 1-3 hours). once beans are soft...season to taste with the sea salt and pepper.
**note..the bean broth is delicious....i make a simple pasta dish with the leftover beans & broth stirred into hot pasta...served with shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese...delicious...**
i look forward to sharing other recipes using rancho gordo the meantime...what is your favorite way to prepare/eat beans?
diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style™ "
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Kelly said...

I love Rancho Gordo beans. Great post. Thank you

Robyn Wright of Robyn's Online World said...

While I am not normally a big bean eater, these actually sound REALLY good!

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

thank you kelly!
pls visit again soon...

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi robyn...thanks...they really are good and so simple to make. let me know if you try them....btw, i love your tweets...

Stefany said...

I am not a bean person at all. I don't know what it is really because I know several people that love them. Regardless, these sound good (for a bean! haha!)

I will stumble and tweet this. Maybe some bean lovers will find your recipe and be excited. Thanks for linking up on Saturday!

VINCENT said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the

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Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi stefany..thanks so much for the stumble and tweet..and who knows? maybe you would like an admitted bean addict, i am always trying to get people to love them too!


Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi vincent..thank you for your kind words..ok...i added my blog to your site...thank you for the invitation...