Tom thought I was insane when he opened my order from Rancho Gordo. He pulled bag after bag of heirloom beans from the DHL box, laughing the entire time. He lined them all up on the counter, poked fun at me and took a picture. That was before he tasted them and admitted they were the best beans he’s ever had. So there.
On Sunday morning, I left some Anasazi beans soaking while I went to the beach. Unlike the beans you buy at the grocery store, Rancho Gordo beans are really fresh and start to plump up right away. I let them simmer for a few hours and simply added some salt, raw garlic and sauteed onions. The raw garlic is my grandmother’s secret to amazing beans. She always crushed them in a mortar and pestle until the cloves turned into a paste. If you just mince the garlic, it won’t melt into the liquid and if you sautee the garlic with the onions, the beans will take on a slightly bitter flavor. Her beans are legendary among the family.
The Anasazis made an excellent “pot liquor” and I served them simply with a squeeze of lime, cilantro leaves and queso fresco. They were so meaty and satisfying that I almost forgot I hadn’t added ham or chorizo as is the tradition with most Cuban and Spanish bean dishes.
I imagine these would make a fantastic base for rice and beans or tacos. I’ve got 7 other varieties stacked neatly in my pantry that I can’t wait to get into!
Simple Pot Beans
1 lb. Rancho Gordo Anasazi Beans
4 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt to taste
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
juice of 1 lime
3 oz. queso fresco
Pour the beans into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and fill the pot with water until the water level is about 2 inches above the beans. Let them soak for 3 – 4 hours. The beans will absorb a good amount of liquid while they’re soaking. If the water level isn’t high enough to cover the beans, add more water.
Place the pot on low heat and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Once they’re almost done, crush the garlic cloves with a mortar and pestle until the garlic turns into a paste and add them to the pot. Next, sautee the onion with the oil on medium heat until they’re soft and translucent, about 10 minutes, and add them to the pot as well. Stir the beans to distribute the garlic and onions and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes.
Serve with a drizzle of lime juice, a big pinch of cilantro and some crumbled queso fresco.