Rancho Gordo Pinto Beans

The last time I was at the Saturday farmers' market at the Ferry Building I stopped by Rancho Gordo Beans. And bought pinto beans. Then with my head still down I walked quickly away.

My chances of anyone I know seeing me were slim but what if they did? I was buying the most common bean available from a well published purveyor of heirloom beans. There were black and white beans, green, speckled, striped and red beans. There were beans with names that promised passion; Santa Maria, Rio Zape, Ojo de Cabra, Vaquero, Nightfall and Midnight. There was a package of Good Mother Stallard.

I hid the pintos in my purse.

I grew up on pinto beans soaking overnight on the counter before they were cooked for hours the next day. They were grocery store commodity crop beans that could be stored indefinitely with increasingly long cooking times. And I loved them.

I'd never had pinto beans like the RG beans I shamefully shoved out of sight though. These were pinto beans that required no soaking. That were ready to eat after less than two hours of cooking. The only thing shameful were all the pinto beans that had come before. And the fact that I ate nearly the entire pot of new beans by myself.

I had no idea the age of a dried bean could make a difference. Or that there was such a thing as an heirloom dried bean. I'm entertained by the different varieties and support the cultivation of heirloom seeds by shopping for them, but the pintos, the pintos are comfort food.

Comfort food better than it was before. And that's hard to do.


Anonymous said...

Oooh. I've been eyeing all the interesting been seeds too. But I have to admit that as much as I love to eat them, I never think to cook them. (Shh, except from a can.)

Since I've never seen any at a local farmers' market, maybe I'll check out a health food store and see what the best option I can find is...make it a quest for the weekend.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Katrina, how do you cook your pinto beans? I've got some from a local farm that I want to cook, but don't have a very good recipe. Mine always come out bland and slightly mushy...

Donna said...

I second Laura -- what do you do with them? I've got a jar of beautiful organic pinto beans in my cupboard, and nothing to make.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, beans & rice are great comfort food. We like a Rick Bayless recipe called Drunken Pintos, where they're slow cooked with a little pork shoulder then finished on slightly livelier heat with fried up bacon and onions. Stir in a splash of tequila then sprinkle on some cotija or other salty, crumbly cheese.

The freshly dried beans we got from the farmers market last fall seem to hold their form better than store-bought and have a texture I never knew beans could have.

Kale for Sale said...

malisa - You're welcome. Have fun. I'll cook a big pot of bean soup and freeze it, which then is as easy as opening a can to heat up. Except we still get a can of refrieds when the kids visit and I happily eat all their leftovers. (But shh.)

laura and donna - I make it up every time. This last time I sauteed onions and garlic, added chicken broth from an old pastured hen, frozen roasted tomatoes and peppers and that was it. The one thing I've read is to not add salt until the end or the beans get tough. Check out the Rancho Gordo site or blog. The guy knows his beans.

I'm going to check him out to see how to make my own refrieds.

audrey - ... a slightly livelier heat. That's too wonderful and goes perfect with the tequila in the beans. They sound great. Especially the bacon and onion part. Well, and the pork shoulder part and .... it all sounds great. Thank you.

Green Bean said...

Ohhh, sounds so good. My kids love these. You are too funny - though, shamefully hiding them from sight.