Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ranch Style Beans

What is it with my love affair with beans? Do I dig deep into my Mexican genetic pool, to explain why a savory pot of beans makes my world go round? One of my favorite comfort meals would be narrowed down to either Red Beans & Brown Rice, or Chili Con Carne with flour tortillas.

When it comes to grilling season, I'm always game to try a new bean recipes-- to set along side grilled meats.  My guests appreciate them, too, and this recipe is no exception.  I've always wanted to see if I could make my own Texas Ranch Style Beans.

The first place I searched was one of my favorite cookbooks, "The Homesick Texan" (author/blogger: Lisa Fain).  I came up with nothing-- until I searched her blog .  Lo and behold, she had created her own version and I decided to try her recipe.   I've made a few of her recipes with success (like her Breakfast Migas--yum).
I have nothing against canned beans. But, dried beans are inexpensive and I don't mind giving them an overnight soaking. I do add baking soda, myself, during the soaking process to help-- ahem-- with the after-effects of eating fiber laden beans.  (There's a quick soak method, too.)

Ancho chilis are inexpensive and I try to keep a few on hand, in my pantry.  In a pre-heated, hot skillet (I prefer cast iron) you want to cook them for a minutes-- kind of a snap, crackle and pop effect. Then, you add water allow them to rehydrate for a bit... oh, an hour should do it.

For spices/aromatics, we'll need brown sugar, paprika, cumin and dried oregano and 15 ounces of tomatoes.  We'll need some apple cider vinegar.  Plenty of garlic and onion is needed, too-- like one big onion and six cloves of fresh garlic.

In a skillet, with a bit of canola oil, the onions are cooked until soft, and then the garlic is added for about a minute.  Now, we add this to a food processor (or you can use an immersion blender) and we add the rehydrated Ancho chiles, spices, water and vinegar.  Puree until smooth.  I can assure you that this puree is not fire-breathing hot, but it's plenty flavorful. NOTE: I bumped up the cumin a bit more, because I love it. Adjust the seasonings to your own preference.

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