Meat/Un-Meat: Cook Heirloom Beans Tonight!

Whether you eat meat or not, heirloom beans are one thing we should all be able to agree on. Heirloom beans, thanks in part to the phenomenally popular beans of Rancho Gordo, have seen an enormous renaissance these last few years. We've learned that beans can be so much more than mushy can-ified filler for tacos and soups. They can be rich, meaty, creamy, and full of flavor all on their own.

In fact, just today we were so inspired by a NY Times piece on Steve Sando and Rancho Gordo that we put out a pot of beans to soak!

Yesterday's piece featured Steve Sando and his rambunctious sense of humor. Apparently he had a very public spat with Slow Food's founder; he "said he favored growing disappearing foods over getting together to talk about them at fund-raisers." Oh boy. The article spotlights the success of Rancho Gordo and Steve's enthusiastic advocacy of New World and heirloom foods. You can read the rest of the article here:

Field Report: Bean Counterculture, by Christine Muhlke

We've been big fans of these beans for a long time; you can see an early interview with Steve we ran a few years ago: Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food.

But I still don't cook beans as often as I would like. Fortunately that article prompted me to get a pot ready for an impromptu dinner party tonight. There was still time to put the beans to soak, and to cook them for a couple hours before dinner. These are creamy pale Mayacoba beans from Rancho Gordo; I'm planning to cook them with onion and garlic until soft and then just toss them with a light vinaigrette and some herbs. They'll make a great side dish to some chicken, but they would also be a fabulous vegetarian dinner on their own.

If you'd like to try a pot of beans (with or without meat!) here are a few past recipes to try, some of them from Sando's new Heirloom Beans cookbook (read our review here).

Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta
Florida Butter Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Italian Marrow Beans with Tuna
Basil Parmesan Pot Beans
How to Cook Beans

What was the last thing you made with beans?

(Image: Faith Durand)