We all know that beans are good for us. Rich in protein (6-7 grams per half-cup serving), high in fiber (one half-cup serving gives you about 25% daily fiber) and inexpensive! Besides being nutritious, they are versatile. You can boil them, bake them, fry them; put them in soups, stews, chili and salads; serve them with meat or have a vegetarian dish!
Rancho Gordo is a company that sells heirloom beans. I’ve heard of heirloom beans, heirloom tomatoes, heirloom seeds… but really, what does that mean? As it turns out, an heirloom is tough to define. Some say it must have been passed down through the generations and that a particular variety must be grown for at least 50 years before it can be called heirloom.
What is constant in what is deemed heirloom is that it is “non-hybrid”… they are pure and aren’t a mixture of two varieties. To be called an heirloom, the plants must be open-pollinated, which means the seeds were pollinated by wind or insect rather than by humans.
Rancho Gordo is a company in Napa, California that grows heirloom beans. I ordered some because I’ve read other bloggers rave about them and we've been eating lots of soups and stews this winter.
I guess you could say I wanted on the bean wagon!
I ordered a pound each of Yellow Indian Woman Beans, Santa Maria Pinquito Beans, CranberryBeans and Red Quinoa.
I ordered the Yellow Indian Woman beans just because I liked the name and decided to try those first.
I've been trying to cook smaller portions of food so we don't have as many leftovers to contend with, so after soaking a half-pound of beans overnight, I sauteed some green bell pepper, onions and garlic in olive oil. I added the drained beans, a smoked ham hock and covered it all with water.
I brought it to a boil then simmered it for about 4 hours. I removed the ham hock and took the meat out of it. You don't get a lot of meat from a ham hock, but what you do get is delicious! I added just the meat back to the beans and simmered for another half-hour.
These beans are beautiful in the package and they're beautiful when you plate them. I squashed a few beans while I was stirring them, but the majority were whole and plump and full of goodness.