Recently discovered Rancho Gordo Beans. Was curious to try them given all the positive “press” (rave reviews). Were they really that good? Worth the price, at around $6 for a 1-pound bag? They’re just beans after all, right?
To most, a bean is just a bean, but to some a bean signifies so much more. Rancho Gordo beans are open-pollinated, heirloom beans. Open-pollinated? Heirloom? What’s so special about that?
Well, choosing open-pollinated, heirloom beans (as well as other plants) conserves genetic diversity and prevents the loss of unique varieties. Heirloom plants are difficult to grow and generally do not fair well on a large-scale agricultural level. Rather, it is the small family farm that keeps such traditions alive, with seeds passed from generation to generation, preserving unique and diverse plant genetic traits as well as growing methods.
That’s all fine and well, but how do these beans taste? Creamy. Luscious. Tender. Everything you want in a bean.
Plus, a pound of dried beans produces nearly 7 cups of cooked beans. That’s a lot of beans. That’s a lot of bean breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
It’s hard to go back to other dried beans once you’ve tried Rancho Gordo.
Today, I made bean and poblano enchilada using Rancho Gordo Rebosero beans, which they describe as having ‘lacy lillac-colored markings reminiscent of a local rebozo (or shawl), hence the name rebosero.”
The cooked beans were lightly mashed with some of the delicious bean cooking liquid, along with herbs, spices, and chiles. You can make the beans in advance and reheat such that preparing the enchiladas is a snap. Just fill your (corn) tortillas, roll them up, layer in a baking dish, cover with enchilada sauce and cheese, and bake 15-20 minutes. I garnished the enchiladas with some quick pickled red onions, chopped cilantro, and thinly sliced scallions. Lime wedges on the side.
Dinner is served.
Heirloom Bean and Poblano Enchiladas
serves 3 to 4
spicy beans (recipe to follow)
guajillo sauce (recipe to follow)
cheese, finely shredded (used a mild Gruyere)
quick pickled red onions (recipe to follow)
scallions, thinly sliced
To roast the poblano chiles:
Roast the whole poblano chiles on an open flame on a gas stovetop or grill; alternatively, you can roast the poblanos under the broiler. Turn every few minutes with tongs until the chiles are nicely charred on all sides. Cover the chiles with a clean kitchen towel (the steam helps to loosen the skin) and set aside for a few minutes. With the side of a chef’s knife, scrape off the skin and any charred bits, de-seed, and slice into long strips.
Preparing the Enchiladas:
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Spread a layer of guajillo sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
Place the corn tortillas, one at a time, over the open flame of your gas stovetop, about 10 seconds per side until soft and pliable. Place a couple tablespoons of the spicy beans in the middle of the tortilla, along with a few strips of poblano chile. Roll up tight and place in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Spread some more of the guajillo sauce over the tops of the tortillas to cover. Sprinkle with a nice amount of cheese. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is nice and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
Scatter some pickled onions, chopped cilantro, and scallions over the finished dish. Serve with lime wedges.
3 cups cooked (~ 1/2 pound *dried) beans (used Rancho Gordo Rebosero beans)
1 cup of reserved bean cooking liquid
2 tablespoons olive oil (or other cooking oil)
1 small white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon toasted and ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
squeeze of lime
salt to taste
*To cook the dried beans: Rinse the dried beans in cold water, removing any debris. Soak in the morning, covered by an inch or so of water. When you’re ready to cook (that evening), transfer the beans and soaking water to a large pot (no need to drain and rinse). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are tender. If the bean water gets a bit low, add some hot water (from a kettle). Drain, reserving the bean cooking liquid.
For the spicy beans: Heat the oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and ground chipotle and saute another minute. Add the cooked beans. Mash the beans (a potato masher works well). Add 1 cup of the reserved bean cooking liquid, and cook stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the cilantro and squeeze of lime. Remove from the heat. Season with salt to taste.
Note: The spicy beans can be made a few days in advance.
Adapted slightly from the Food Network
makes 1 1/2 cups
12 guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and deveined
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 small white onion, peeled, quartered
1 small vine-ripened tomato, boiled 30 seconds, peeled
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small bay leaf
Add the guajillo chiles, white onion, and garlic cloves, plus 4 cups of water, to a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cooking until the chiles are soft, about 25 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the guajillo chiles, onion, garlic, and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to a blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt, about 1/2 teaspoon, and black pepper.
In a medium, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the blended sauce and bay leaf. Simmer until thickened, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed.
Note: The guajillo sauce can be made a few days in advance.
Quick Pickled Red Onions
1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
Rinse the sliced onions (in a colander) with cold water, which helps to remove an onion’s sharp bite. Drain well. Transfer the onions to a non-reactive bowl, pour the lime juice on top, and stir in the salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
*The pickled onions will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.