photo by andidigress
The best part about putting recipes into a blog is hearing back from people that either try them or see something out in the world that draws them back to the food. So much more interesting that keeping the recipes in a file. This is one of those recipes…
Ranch Style Beans are something you don’t (can’t) avoid in Texas. My family loves them, I have loved them since the first time I had a bowl. With jalapenos, on rice, whatever. Trouble is, eating out of a can hasn’t been all that appealing for years. Once you start making everything fresh, or leave college, cans just aren't as appealing.
A friend that read this blog mentioned that beans are sold in Styrofoam cups in south Texas. I love the idea – a Big Gulp of beans. It makes perfect sense – beans are easy to make and easy to serve. A giant cup of beans sounds a little like an SNL skit, but I would buy one. Sure, I've had plenty of beans as a side at one of our legendary BBQ spots, but I've never sought out a bowl of beans on their own.
This recipe is much more than a knock off of Ranch Style Beans. Ranch beans are a common side on local tables, so its handy to have a good bean recipe. More than handy - its critical. If you're prepared with good recipes for ranch beans and Cuban frijoles negros, you pretty much have beans covered.
The original Ranch Style Beans use pinto, but I have found that its best to mix the pintos with red kidneys, so I keep both on hand.
These can be served over rice or on their own. They're a simple and satisfying meal by themselves, even out of a Big Gulp cup.
1 lb dried pinto beans (or kidney)
3 onions (total), diced
1/4 cup red chili powder (I use Pendrey's Texas Red)
2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
2 strips of bacon, diced
1 Tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 tsp vinegar
- Wash the beans and remove any rocks. Soak overnight.
- Rinse the beans and cover with water. Make sure there are a couple inches of water above the surface of the beans.
- Add 2 of the diced onions, chili, salt, sugar and paprika. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet. Let the beans continue to simmer.
- When the bacon is done to your liking, add the remaining onion, oil, garlic, and bell peppers.
- When the onion has softened and turned translucent, use a ladle to transfer any extra broth from the beans to the skillet. Take all the broth down to the surface of the beans. Add the vinegar to the beans.
- Boil off the broth from the skillet, until what remains is a thick gravy.
- Add the gravy to the beans and serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro, onions and Mexican oregano.