Much more than just beans
December 13, 2015
Yes, Virginia, premium ingredients do make a difference.
And the damned Instant Pot is costing me money.
I decided, since I now have the ability to pressure-cook things, that I would splurge and order myself some Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, which are supposed to be all that and a bag of chips. At three times the price point of grocery store beans, they ought to be.
So I went to the Rancho Gordo website, where I was confronted with an astonishing array of all kinds of beans. Big ones, little ones, white ones, red ones, purple ones. And they all looked so fascinating that I — well, I ordered a package each of eight different beans. Plus a bag of wild rice.
I have yellow-eye beans. I have scarlet runner beans. I have eye-of-the-goat beans.
And I thought to myself, “Self? You had perhaps best not just throw these in the pot with a hamhock like you would if they were a $1.39 bag of Great Northerns from Kroger.” And self agreed that was probably wise. So self ordered the Rancho Gordo cookbook.
Truthfully, from running down a few Rancho Gordo recipes online, it rather DOES look like you just throw ’em in the pot with a hamhock.
But I didn’t do that first time out. (Saving that hambone to go in Senate bean soup sometime later.) I put a half-pound of ojo de cabro (eye of the goat) beans, which look for all the world like pintos, in to soak early the other morning. Pulled them out about 4, and stuck them in the IP. Thirty minutes later, and the one I sampled was perfectly tender.
Poured them out of the IP, put some olive oil in the pan, changed the setting to saute, added half a chopped onion and four cloves of garlic confit. Sauteed that until the onion got soft. Put the beans and liquid back in, added salt and pepper. Left it on saute with the top off.
Checked beans again after they cooked down a bit. This one was NOT yet tender, so I changed the setting yet again, to pressure-cook them for another 15 minutes.
Pretty much perfect. Everything they say about Rancho Gordo is true. These beans, this flavor, this texture, bear about as much relationship to grocery store brown beans as they do to, oh, cheesecake or something. Ain’t the same thing at all.
These beans … are RICH. A bean ought not to be “rich,” at least not without the addition of lots of meat and such. But these beans, cooked simply with nothing more to flavor them than onion, garlic, salt and pepper, were robust, meaty and…well…RICH.
I had them with a big scoop of white rice with soy sauce on it, because I like soy sauce on white rice. (Brown rice would have been better, but in deference to Child A, who doesn’t care for it, I’ve been buying white.) I ladled beans around it, and topped them with half a cubed avocado, a squirt of lime juice, and some feta cheese.
I am here to tell you, that was all the dinner I needed.
I had another helping of same warmed up for Sunday lunch, and I’m happy to report they’re just as good now as they were the first time.
I think I’m gonna like this Instant Pot. And my Rancho Gordo beans.