Basic Dried Beans

There is not one single method of cooking beans. At its most basic, you want to simmer the pot until the beans are soft. Soaking can speed up the process and vegetables or stock will make them more flavorful. It’s really that simple. There’s all kinds of fine tuning and variables, but basically, this is it.

Normally on a bean cooking day (which frankly is everyday at Rancho Gordo), I put the beans to soak in the morning, after rinsing in lots of cool water and checking for small debris. I cover the beans by about an inch or so. If you haven’t soaked, don’t fret. Go ahead and cook them, knowing it will take a bit longer.

Heirloom and heritage varieties don’t need a lot of fussing if they are used fresh, which I’d define as within two years. You can use a ham bone, chicken stock or as I prefer, simply a few savory vegetables. A classic mirepoix is a mix of onion, celery and carrot diced fine and sautéed in some kind of fat, often olive oil. A crushed clove of garlic doesn’t hurt. If I’m cooking Mexican or Southwestern, I will sauté just onion and garlic in mild bacon drippings or even freshly rendered lard.

Add the beans and their soaking water to a large pot. You have been told before to change the water and rinse the beans. The thinking now is that vitamins and flavor can leech out of the beans into the soaking water you are throwing down the sink. There is conflicting scientific evidence that changing the water cuts down on the gas. If you want to, do it. If it seems unnecessary, don’t.

If you’ve soaked them, the beans will have expanded, so make sure they are still covered by at least an inch, maybe a bit more. Add the sautéed vegetables and give a good stir. Raise your heat to medium high and bring to a hard boil. Keep the beans at a boil for about ten to fifteen minutes. After so many years, I think this is the moment that really matters. You have to give them a good hard boil to let them know you’re the boss and then reduce them to a gentle simmer, before covering. I like to see how low I can go and still get the occasional simmering bubble. Open and close the lid, or keep it ajar to help control the heat and allow evaporation. The bean broth will be superior if it’s had a chance to breathe and evaporate a little.

When the beans are almost ready, the aroma will be heady. They won’t smell so much like the vegetables you’ve cooked but the beans themselves. At this point, I’d go ahead and salt them. Go easy as it takes awhile for the beans to absorb the salt. If you want to add tomatoes or acids like lime or vinegar, wait until the beans are cooked through.

If the bean water starts to get low, always add hot water from a tea kettle. Many believe that cold water added to cooking beans will harden them. At the very least, it will make the cooking take that much longer to bring them back to a simmer. We don’t recommend using hot tap water, straight from a water heater. Better to heat the tap water in a tea kettle or pan first.

So you’re done! Once you’ve mastered this method, go ahead and try some different techniques. Your bean friends will swear by this or that method and you should take their advice, keeping in mind there are few absolutes when it comes to cooking beans, only that it’s very hard work to mess up a pot of beans.

Here’s a printer-friendly PDF of Cooking Basic Beans in The Rancho Gordo Manner

Cooking beans in a crockpot:

Sauté half of a chopped onion in about one tablespoon of fat (oil, lard, bacon fat, etc.). Place in a crockpot along with any other aromatics you’d like (such as Mexican oregano, garlic, bay leaf), followed by beans that have been picked over and rinsed. Cover with water (about one part beans to three or four parts water). Turn the heat to “high” and give the contents a stir. Do this in the morning, and your beans should be done by the afternoon. Cooking time will be 4-6 hours, depending on your crockpot and the variety of beans.

Cooking beans in a pressure cooker:

First consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the exact method for your model. Place cleaned beans in the pressure cooker and cover with three or four parts water. Generally, you want to cook under pressure for 20 minutes, release, and then cook open on the stovetop for another 20 minutes.

Some handy cooking and storing tips:

You can expect 1 cup of dried beans to yield about 3 cups cooked beans. One pound of dried beans (which is about 2 cups) will yield about 6 cups cooked beans.

Our beans are so fresh that soaking is not needed. It will, however, speed up the cooking time and can help the beans to cook more evenly, so if you have the time to do it, it won’t hurt. We don’t recommend soaking more than 6 hours or the beans may begin to sprout.

Many believe that adding salt (or acids like tomatoes and vinegar) too early in the cooking process prevents the beans from getting soft. We find this especially true with older beans.

You can store leftover cooked beans in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and you can freeze them as well. If you are storing beans in the refrigerator, keep them in their cooking liquid so they don’t dry out.

If a recipe calls for drained beans, be sure to save the extra liquid. You can use it for many things, including poaching eggs, adding moisture to dishes, and making soups.

Store dried beans in a cool, dark place. It’s fine to keep them in their Rancho Gordo packaging, although some prefer to transfer them to a glass jar with a lid or an airtight container. They should be good for about 2 years. After that, they are still edible but the quality will begin to decline.

Salsa Arriera

20 whole serrano peppers (or 10 Serrano del Sol)
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons water, cold
Salt, to taste

Toast the chiles on a medium-hot comal or griddle, turning them from time to time until they are blistered and charred.

While they are still hot, grind them with the rest of the ingredients to a rough paste in a molcajete or in a blender.

Salsa de Tijera

1/2 ts Salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Red wine vinegar
8 Chiles anchos
1/4 cup Queso fresco; crumbled
1 Onion
4 Garlic cloves; small

Toast chiles lightly, turning constantly so not to burn them. When cool, remove veins and seeds.

Cut chiles into small pieces and chop onion and garlic finely.

Mix chiles, onion, and garlic with oil, vinegar and salt. Let stand for approx 2 hrs.

To serve sprinkle with cheese.

(NOTE: This is sometimes called Salsa de tijera (scissors sauce) since the chiles are usually cut into thin strips with scissors. When chiles pasilla are used the sauce is called Salsa de moscas. Salsa de los reyes has three chiles ­ mulato, ancho, and pasilla. Good sauce for barbequed meats…)

Poblano Soup

4 whole poblano peppers, roasted and peeled
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
16 ounces corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
2 whole serrano peppers, finely chopped
2 whole waxy potatoes, cubed
6 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
Salt and pepper

Cut the poblanos into 1/3-inch strips and set aside.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy pot and sauté the onion and garlic over medium-low heat until golden and soft.

Add the corn, oregano, serranos, poblanos, and potatoes and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, making sure everything is coated with the butter and onion mixture.

Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, place in bowls and squeeze with fresh lime.

Options and Variations:

If you’re really in a rush, you can omit the potatoes. Cook until the corn is heated through.

If you feel like having a thicker soup, take a cup of the mixture and blend it and then add it back to the pot.

Caldo Tlepeno (Mexican Chickpeas, Chicken, and Chipotles)

Serves 4–6

1 cup dried Garbanzo Beans
1/2 white onion, minced
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, roughly chopped, with seeds and sauce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon good-quality lard or olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup peeled and sliced carrots
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
Avocado cubes for garnish
Lime wedges for serving

Cook the garbanzo beans. Drain, then set aside.

In a blender, combine the onion, chipotle chiles, tomatoes, and garlic and puree until smooth.

In a stockpot or large saucepan, heat the lard over medium heat. Add the pureed vegetables and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth, bring just to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.

Add the garbanzos, carrots, and zucchini and continue to simmer until the carrots and zucchini are barely cooked, about 8 minutes.

Add the chicken and continue to simmer until the vegetables are just cooked and the chicken and garbanzos are heated through.

Ladle the soup into warmed individual bowls, garnish with avocado, and serve immediately. Pass the lime wedges at the table.

Caribbean Red Beans and Rice

Serves 4 to 6, doubles like a dream

2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Domingo Rojo beans or pigeon peas
2-1/2-cups brown rice, cooked and cooled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
1/4 habañero (Scotch bonnet pepper) or 1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped, depending on how hot you like it*
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tomato, chopped (or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained)
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 small handful fresh thyme leaves, or ¼ teaspoon dried
1 small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the pepper, habañero, and celery, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the diced tomato and season with the allspice and cumin.

Add the cooked Domingo Rojo beans and rice, stirring until the mixture is well combined. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the moisture from the vegetables is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Add the thyme, cilantro, sea salt, and pepper.

Red (or Black) Beans and Rice

1 pound dried beans, such as Red Nightfall or Sangre de Toro
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup red wine
3 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 pound smoked ham hocks
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups hot white rice

Chopped scallions for garnish

Wash beans well and sort through them, removing any pebbles or impurities. Place beans in a pot, cover with water and soak overnight.

When ready to cook, drain beans and set aside.

Sauté onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and jalapeño in oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, uncovered, until soft (about 10 minutes).

Add beans to the pot, along with chicken broth, red wine, water, bay leaf, ham hocks, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and taste to adjust seasoning.

Simmer, covered, for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
Remove ham hocks after 2 hours. Continue to simmer beans for another 30 minutes, or until the liquid in the beans has a thick, creamy consistency.

As soon as the ham hocks are cool enough to work with, remove all meat from the bones, and shred it. Return meat to the beans.

Divide the hot rice among 4 wide, shallow serving bowls. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the bean mixture over the rice in each bowl; you’ll have a little bean mixture left over.

Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

You can also replace the red beans with a firm, creamy bean like Midnight Black Bean.

If you wish to add andouille, tasso or chicken to this recipe, to make it meatier still . . . go right ahead!

Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. Rancho Gordo Sangre de Toro Beans
2 tbs. cooking oil (we like grapeseed or vegetable)
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, grated
2 ribs celery, diced
5 large garlic cloves, diced
3 tsp. smoked paprika
1 smoked ham hock or 3/4 lb. smoked ham, diced (optional)
2 dried bay leaves
3 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Balsamic vinegar, to taste (we used about two big dashes)
A few dashes of Hot sauce (optional)
Salt, to taste (if you can, get Smoked Sea Salt — adds a nice smoky flavor)

Cooked white rice for serving

Pickled onions, for garnish (optional)

Fresh chives and parsley, chopped for garnish

You can soak the beans overnight if you’d like OR, for day-of: cover the beans with water in a big pot and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the beans for about an hour, until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Sometimes it takes longer, depending on the age of the beans. Do NOT add salt yet (this slows the cooking process).

When the beans are nearly tender, pour your cooking oil into a pan and sauté the onions, celery, bell pepper, and carrot until fragrant (about 2-3 mins). Add the garlic and smoked paprika, then sauté for another few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the beans, then add the sautéed vegetables to the beans. Add the ham hock (if using), thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire, balsamic, hot sauce, and just enough water (or veggie stock) to cover.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.

Stirring occasionally, cook for at least 2 hours, or until it’s nice and creamy. The longer you cook it, the better it gets!

Do one final salt check — add a bit more if it needs it.
Pour mixture over cooked white rice and top with pickled onions (if using) and fresh chopped herbs. Serve with good local bread and a glass (or three) of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Citing Two Old Dogs.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

1/4 pound diced Apple Smoked Bacon (optional) (we like Hobbs)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, (3-4 tablespoons if not using bacon)
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound Royal Corona or Cassoulet beans, soaked 6-8 hours
4 cups homemade chicken stock or your favorite canned chicken stock
6-8 cups water if necessary
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 cup pasta (your choice shape such as little tubes or broken papardelli noodles
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Da Vero Lemon Olive Oil to drizzle
Vella Dry Jack to grate to taste over the “fazool”

In a large heavy bottom soup pot, sauté bacon until browned. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Discard all but about 1-2 tablespoons bacon fat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or start with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil if you are not using bacon).

Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, stock, oregano, and return bacon to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until beans are tender, about 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on freshness of beans). You may add water if necessary.

Add pasta and continue cooking until al dente. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and allow the “fazool” to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to concentrate the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Drizzle individual bowls with lemon olive oil, and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Pasta e Fagioli with Escarole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup tomato sauce (you can use your favorite)
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca beans, or another creamy white bean
1 cup stock (Try chicken stock and bean broth, half and half)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 pound short, flat pasta (I broke up tagliatelle nests)
1 head escarole, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 3 or 4 as a light main dish

In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until soft, 8–10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, beans, stock, and rosemary sprig and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook gently for another 10–15 minutes to combine the flavors.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, using plenty of salted water. Drain the pasta.

Remove the rosemary sprig from the sauce, then mix in the drained pasta; add the escarole and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Classic Pasta Fagioli

Serves 4-6

1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians (Or try Whole Durum Wheat or Spelt pasta from Baia)
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
4 cups bean broth from the cooked beans (If you have less than four cups, make up the difference with chicken broth)
4 oz pancetta, cubed or roughly chopped
1 tbs of lard (or 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 carrot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

As you prepare the beans, make sure you have plenty of liquid on hand when they are done as this will be the basis for your sauce.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the soffritto. Melt the lard (or olive oil) in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Slowly fry the pancetta until fragrant and chewy. Once cooked, remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel. If needed, add more olive oil so there is enough fat to fry the aromatic vegetables.

Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft and the onion is turning golden colored.

Add the tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the paste is heated through and the tomato flavor is intensified.

Add the bean broth and rosemary sprig and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or so. The liquid should start to reduce.

Cook the pasta in a large stockpot in salted water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Add the drained pasta, beans, and reserved pancetta to the soffritto mixture, mix well and gently cook for a few minutes to marry the various flavors.

Serve immediately with a splash of peppery extra virgin olive oil. Pass around a bowl of grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese for the guests to help themselves.

Pork, Pork, Pork, and Beans

Serves 6-8

1 pound Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in Pork Butt (Shoulder)
5 slices Uncured Rustic Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (lardons)
4 links Rustic Pork Sausage, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mirepoix:

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
14 ounce can diced tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
5 branches fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Beans:

3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, preferably Rancho Gordo Sal de Mar sea salt (from the Yucatan)
2 cups panko crumbs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Seasoning the pork butt: Remove the bone from the pork butt and cut the meat into 1 1/2-to-2 inch chunks. Season all sides of the meat with salt and pepper, and refrigerate it (uncovered) for a day.

Soaking the beans: Put the beans in a bowl and cover with 2-inches cold water. Soak the beans for 4 to 6 hours.

Begin the cooking: Put the bacon into a cold 5 quart enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven and place the pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon from for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is just beginning to color. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the mirepoix vegetables together and reserve 1/2 cup for cooking the beans. Add the remaining vegetables to the pan and sauté in the bacon fat, stirring from time to time for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to color.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaf. Tuck the pork chunks into the vegetables, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and put (uncovered) in the oven to cook for about 2 hours.

Cooking the beans (while the meat is in the oven):
Heat a medium size enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven. Add the oil and the reserved mirepoix and saute about 10 minutes to soften.

Add the beans and their soaking water, adding additional water to reach 2-inches above the beans. Place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Continue to boil rapidly for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.

Place the lid slightly ajar (to allow evaporation), and reduce the heat to cook the beans at a gentle simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water as needed to be sure the beans are covered by 2 inches of water at all times; use the lid to control the heat.

After about 1 hour, the smell of beans should be pronounced and you can salt the beans at this point. Add 11/2 tablespoons of salt. Continue to cook until the beans are just tender.

Completing the dish: Once the pork is tender, remove the pieces from the pan. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard.

Put the cooked vegetables and any juices into a food processor. Add the smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, a few grinds of black pepper and lemon juice and puree.

Drain the beans and put them in the Dutch oven. Stir in the bacon pieces and the vegetable puree.

Nestle the pork meat and sausages into the beans, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and return to the oven (uncovered) to cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the panko crumbs in a bowl and stir in the butter. Remove the pot from the oven and sprinkle the panko over the top. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the crumbs are a rich golden brown.

White Beans, Wild Rice, and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 large heirloom tomato, cubed
2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Rancho Gordo Pineapple Vinegar to taste
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Wild Rice
1/2 cup cooked white beans, such as Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Alubia Blanca beans
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Serves 1–easy to scale up

In a bowl, combine the tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper, and vinegar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.

To make the salad, toss the wild rice with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Make a ring around a bowl with the rice, then add the macerated tomatoes and finally the cooked beans. Sprinkle with parsley and maybe indulge yourself with one small drizzle of olive oil.

White Beans with Salsa Verde

Cooked Royal Coronas, Alubia Blanca, or Cassoulet beans

To make Italian salsa verde:

Pound a clove of garlic with some salt and make a paste.

Add chopped fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley (about 3 parts sage to one part parsley) and continue pounding as you add really good olive oil.

Pancetta, Corn, and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Marcella beans
2 cups water (or half water and half bean broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta cubes and saute over medium-low heat until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, oregano, beans, and water, stirring to mix all of the ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, you can add some heavy cream if you like. Allow the soup to cook another 2 or 3 minutes to reheat if necessary. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh herbs.

Gigante Beans in Creamy Tomato Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
28-ounce can whole peeled Roma tomatoes, with tomatoes roughly chopped, liquid reserved
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 4 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil

Serves 2 to 4

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the garlic, onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in the stock and wine. Add the cream and gently cook another 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Divide the beans among bowls and top with the sauce. Sprinkle parsley over the top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Yellow Indian Woman Bean Bowl with Pickled Shallots and Goat Cheese

For this meal, the Yellow Indian Woman beans met with the shallots and a few crumbles of goat cheese. As the whole mess settles and melts you get what is almost a sauce and the beans have never been happier.

Thinly sliced shallots
Sea salt
Rancho Gordo Banana Vinegar or Pineapple Vinegar
Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
Yellow Indian Woman beans, cooked in the Rancho Gordo Manner
Crumbled goat cheese

To make the pickled shallots: Place sliced shallots in a bowl and add enough vinegar to cover completely. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of Oregano Indio (crush with your hand). Let rest about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Scoop warm beans and broth into a bowl and top with a spoonful of pickled shallots and a crumble of goat cheese.

Achiote Chicken Posole with Chorizo

2 Organic Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast halves, cut into 2-inch-thick strips
2 oz. Achiote Paste
3 tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 oz Housemade Mexican-style chorizo (recipe below) (Note: you can substitute 1 link of store-bought all natural lean chorizo, but be careful with salt as store bought tends to be over salted and spiced)
1 1/2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
3/4 cup chicken stock infused with the juice of 1/2 a lime
3/4 lb. spinach leaves
1/2 cup chopped poblano peppers
1/4 cup sliced leeks
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1/8 cup sliced garlic
1 cup avocado salsa (recipe below)
Salt and pepper

Avocado Salsa

2 avocados
3 Tbls chopped cilantro
3 Tbls chopped shallot
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper
Cut the avocado into cubes, add cilantro and shallot, pour in lime juice and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Housemade Mexican-Style Chorizo

Start with ground all-natural pork butt and mix in dashes of the following: minced dried onion, paprika, chili powder, cumin seed, coriander seed, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and sea salt.

For the chicken:

Mix the achiote paste and 2 tbls. olive oil in a boil, add the chicken and coat the pieces with the paste.

In a heated pan over medium high heat, add the chorizo and cook about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

In same pan, cook chicken breast pieces, being careful to leave space so you get a good sear. Cook about 4 minutes on each side. A nice dark crust will form.

Remove from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
In same pan, add one tbls olive oil, sauté poblano pepper, leeks, shallots and garlic for about 2 minutes (season with salt and pepper).

Add posole and stock and bring stock to a boil.

Add spinach in bunches to wilt, about 3-4 minutes.

Place posole, pepper and spinach mixture on plate. Place chicken pieces on top. Top with avocado salsa and sprinkle crumbled chorizo over top.

Bean and Vegetable Posole

1 cup dried Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 cup dried heirlooms beans such as Pinto, Eye of the Goat, Lila, or Moro
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp. New Mexican Red Chile Powder
1½ tsp whole cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. Mexican Oregano
1 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 small calabacitas (small squash) or zucchini, sliced ¼” thick
4 oz. fresh or frozen green beans
1 T. vegetable bouillon
2 T. chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

Rinse and soak posole and beans, in separate bowls, for about 6 hours.

Drain posole and discard water. Add posole to a pot, fill pot with fresh water, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.

Meanwhile, pour beans and their soaking liquid into another pot and add more water if needed to cover beans by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until tender, adding water as necessary (timing will vary depending on type of bean).

In 4 qt. pan, saute onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin seed and oregano in 1 T. oil for 7 minutes until onion is soft.

Add squash and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cooked beans and cooking liquid, posole, green beans and bouillon. Simmer 30 minutes, adding water if stew is too thick.

Add cilantro and salt to taste.

Serve with warm tortillas.

Posole with Pork and Chipotle

2 cups Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 pound pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican Oregano
2 large bay leaves
1 pork bone (optional)
2 cups crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 to 2 chipotles in adobo, membranes and seeds removed, finely minced, plus 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Whole trimmed radishes, for serving (optional)

Soak the hominy overnight in 12 cups (3 quarts) of water. Drain, reserving liquid.

Season the pork well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy 4-quart pot over high heat. Brown the pork well in three to four batches (making sure not to crowd the pot), 2 to 3 minutes on each side. As you finish each batch, transfer it to a platter and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium high. If there is fat in the pan, spoon off all but 1 tablespoon. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for an additional minute.

Stir in 8 cups (2 quarts) of the hominy soaking liquid, the soaked hominy, oregano, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the pork bone (if using).

Over high heat, bring the mixture almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Stir in the tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce, and the browned pork, along with any juices accumulated on the platter. Set the cover slightly off center and continue simmering until the pork is fork-tender and the hominy is done (it will be chewy but the center should be soft and somewhat creamy), an additional 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Add more hominy soaking liquid or water if the mixture becomes too thick and threatens to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Remove the pork bone and bay leaves. Adjust the seasoning. Serve in large bowls. Garnish individual bowls with cilantro and serve a bowl of radishes for accompaniment.