Tag Archives: heirloom beans

Pot o’ Beans for Salads and Tacos


These Rio Zape Beans resemble pinto beans, but are larger and profoundly satisfying. A great element to have on hand for quick tacos or served with a green salad to add flavor and sustenance.

– 1 or 2 cups dried Rio Zape Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans, washed and soaked for six hours inĀ 1-2 quarts water (if 6 hours pass, drain the beans, reserving the soaking liquid and keep both on hand covered for up to 2 hours until you’re ready to start cooking.)
– 1 large onion, cut in half
– 1 or 2 celery stems, cut thirds
– 1 or 2 carrots, cut in half or thirds
– 2 garlic gloves, lightly peeled
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 bouquet garni of a few large parsley stems with leaves (tied with string in cheesecloth, net, sachet or coarsely chopped and stuffed into a large tea strainer)
– 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Place beans and soaking water into large saucepan. Add water if needed – the water level should be at least 1 inch above the top of the beans.
2. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaf and parsley bouquet and bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer one hour.
4. Remove the parsley sachet and celery, then add salt to taste and simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour, until the beans are completely tender.
5. Drain through a strainer set over a bowl, reserving the liquid. Remove the remaining vegetables and bay leaf and discard.
6. Adjust salt to taste, add pepper.
7. Serve warm in tacos embellished to your taste or along with a mixed green salad with freshly chopped parsley /or cilantro & feta /or cojita cheese.

Notes: Beans will last for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Store so they are just covered with some of the reserved liquid, which should be used to reheat them as needed. Save any additional reserved liquid in a canning jar – label/date and freeze for future use. Makes a fantastic “vegetable stock” for asian noodles or soup. Cooked beans can also be frozen in liquid for future use.

Le Creuset, Heirloom Beans & Stews on the Mind

Le Creuset Dutch OvenThe holidays have come and gone, and many a new recipe awaits. I was the lucky recipient of multiple cookbooks this year, and I have to admit initially I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the options. But then, the gift of the Le Creuset dutch oven- my very first!- came to the rescue. Suddenly it seemed every recipe I saw was a perfect candidate for the Le Creuset. So I fired her right up with stews on the mind.

Heirloom Beans cookbook by Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington

The first recipe I decided to try was a lamb stew from a fantastic cookbook called Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington. Inspired by my other current favorite cookbook, D.I.Y. Delicious, also by Vanessa an acquaintance from EcoSalon, I decided to check out this earlier book of hers. As you may have figured out by now if you’ve been perusing the recipes posted on this blog, I have taken a keen interest in cooking with dried beans. With all the nuances associated with soaking, flavoring and cooking the beans, what’s not to love?!

It’s amazing what happens to one’s cooking habits when working from home. While the stay-at-home-contractor-job has its pluses and minuses, one bonus is the ability to slow-cook food, prepping through-out the day. Not so surprising then that I’ve taken no issue with recipes requiring hours of soaking and simmering. No problem! There’s nothing so satisfying as a “bean-stirring-work-break” not to mention the perk of the delectable food that comes with it. (Flatulence aside, ahem.)

So, moving on, back to the heirloom beans. I had no idea about all these incredible heirloom beans- I’m dying to try them all. Here I’ve been cooking with the old boring standards, cannellini, black and pinto. Whatever. I could be making dishes with “Eye of the Goat Beans,” “Good Mother Stallard Beans,” or “Flor de Mayo Beans.” Now that sounds much more enticing. Even better is I discovered that Steve Sando founder of Rancho Gordo, who grows and sells heirloom beans (hence the book), sells them at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in San Francisco. Yay. I will definitely be making my way there soon. (They’re also available at Bi-Rite on 18th-nice!- or order them online.) Once I have a place with a garden again I may try my hand at growing a few heirloom beans myself too.

Recipes soon to follow. And happy New Year! I’m looking forward to more cooking delights in 2011. To cook is to live. – Heather