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SpaghettiWestern

Question about dried bean varieties

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For dinner, we often have that old Southern favorite, beans and cornbread. Sometimes we serve greens alongside, but the beans are the meal, the star. We do put beans into soups, most-notably, RG cannellini beans into Pasta e Fagioli, but for the most part, the only time we serve beans as a side dish is in a bowl of charro beans with Mexican food. We do occasionally make those sweet baked-beans as an accompaniment to fried chicken, or ham, or pork chops, etc., but the bean taste is almost non-existent after they've baked for hours in that sweet tomato sauce, so I don't really consider them in the same category as a bowl of simply-simmered RG beans. They're more like a pile of sweet, flavorful mush.

I'd love a recipe for these beans (and cornbread). Sounds like the kind of thing I might enjoy come winter!

There really isn't a "recipe" for the southern beans and cornbread dinner. Basically, you just get any kind of bean you like (but not green beans), or maybe black-eyed peas, or whatever, and stew them up with whatever sorts of flavorings you like (such as garlic, or carrots, or "the trinity" or whatever), maybe a piece of some sort of pork product, like bacon, or sausage, or ham, or pork chops, or fatback, or salt pork, or whatever (or leave that out if you don't have any or don't like it or can't eat pork for some reason). You get your beans all nice and flavorful and soupy, and then you make up a pan of southern-style cornbread (which is usually flat and not the sweet cake-like cornbread favored elsewhere, so that it's good for dipping into your beans). You serve the beans in a bowl, with a big spoon to slurp up all that good bean juice, and your cornbread alongside. Be sure to have a bottle of Texas Pete or Louisiana Hot Sauce handy if you want to spice it up a bit.

A very traditional southern dinner, especially when it's getting on toward the end of the month, and your cupboard and wallet are bare.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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For dinner, we often have that old Southern favorite, beans and cornbread. Sometimes we serve greens alongside, but the beans are the meal, the star. We do put beans into soups, most-notably, RG cannellini beans into Pasta e Fagioli, but for the most part, the only time we serve beans as a side dish is in a bowl of charro beans with Mexican food. We do occasionally make those sweet baked-beans as an accompaniment to fried chicken, or ham, or pork chops, etc., but the bean taste is almost non-existent after they've baked for hours in that sweet tomato sauce, so I don't really consider them in the same category as a bowl of simply-simmered RG beans. They're more like a pile of sweet, flavorful mush.

I'd love a recipe for these beans (and cornbread). Sounds like the kind of thing I might enjoy come winter!

There really isn't a "recipe" for the southern beans and cornbread dinner.

Just want to add that although there's no official "recipe," different cooks do have different methods. I'm hoping Angie chimes in, because that girl sure knows what she's doing, and she always has some great tips.

In our family, though, it seems like most of the cooks had one or another "secret ingredient." Many put in a pinch of nutmeg. My grandmother added thyme and crushed red pepper. And our fancy aunt had a truly secret ingredient that nobody could exactly figure out. But right before she died, she told my cousin that she (the fancy aunt) had gone to Bermuda on on her honeymoon years ago, and ate beans laced with black rum and Bermuda sherry peppers.

So she fessed up that that's what she had been adding ever since.

She had been buying the black rum at her local liquor store. But as for the sherry peppers, she ordered them from these fine folks: Outerbridge Bermuda

And now, so do I.

All you bean buffs should give them a try.

:cool:


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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If you simply don't want to spend the money on Rancho Gordo or other heritage beans, then don't.

This is not helpful. Country asked a reasonable question about the statement "RG beans are fresher". Country even expressly said that the quality of the beans was not being questioned, simply the logistics of how they could be fresher, given the nature of beans, seasons, etc. For this, you offer a dismissive attack.

I too am curious how the US ends up with huge stocks of years old beans, if new harvests come every year. While it makes sense for commercial bean-product producers to keep some stashed against poor harvests, it doesnt make sense to pay storage for years when new product will be available. Its that whole 'just in time' inventory concept. Storage is expensive and risky.

So, I too am curious where is the info on the age of the beans my grocer sells me.

(I dont doubt I have beans in my cupboard old enough to vote, because I put them in that cupboard that long ago, but why would a grocer deal with inventory that way?)

Thanks for the support. I too still want to find out more on how old the beans are in most local stores. Hannaford is a chain located in the Northeast with 179 stores and a large presence in Maine. I shop at their (very good) store in Damariscotta and I'll see if someone there can find out how old their dry beans are.

I'll also check with my local coop, of which I'm a member, and ask them - which should be easier than finding out from Hannaford, if only because the coop sells beans in bulk and probably has a shorter supply line.

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If you simply don't want to spend the money on Rancho Gordo or other heritage beans, then don't.

This is not helpful. Country asked a reasonable question about the statement "RG beans are fresher". Country even expressly said that the quality of the beans was not being questioned, simply the logistics of how they could be fresher, given the nature of beans, seasons, etc. For this, you offer a dismissive attack.

I too am curious how the US ends up with huge stocks of years old beans, if new harvests come every year. While it makes sense for commercial bean-product producers to keep some stashed against poor harvests, it doesnt make sense to pay storage for years when new product will be available. Its that whole 'just in time' inventory concept. Storage is expensive and risky.

So, I too am curious where is the info on the age of the beans my grocer sells me.

(I dont doubt I have beans in my cupboard old enough to vote, because I put them in that cupboard that long ago, but why would a grocer deal with inventory that way?)

Having been a Jr. Executive at one of the larger Agri-Businessess in California... all I can say is that practice defies common sense & has to do with the whole intertwining of the Military-Industrial complex & the establishment of the USDA.

Let me give you an example... lets say we could get three grape growers together to establish a grape processing Cooperative (in the full legal sense)... pooling money together to establish a winer.... and then lets say we have friends who do the same & establish a 2nd grape processing Cooperative which leases time on our winery production lines & warehousing space.. and both of these Cooperatives get together to establish a grape marketing Cooperative.

The marketing Coop hires a sales person to sell the wines.. may or may not be branded. The marketing Coop can pay advances to its Coop members (in effect buying the wine... but legally it has to be called something different)

The Coop members of the Marketing Coop in effect are the two processing Coops which in turn buy the grapes from the grape growers (although legally its an Advance not a sale)...

Under the Tax Accounting rules for Coops those Advances don't count as revenue... instead the Coop must distribute the Coop profits to its members within 18 months of the Crop Year End... however Crop Expenses can be deducted the same year the expenses were incurred... so in effect you are recognizing current year expenses against revenues (and cash received) 4 years ago (on average)... as long as you are in a growing business (which is kind of guaranteed for most food commodities in a world with growing populations and where the USDA works tireless to expand export markets) then your tax bill is going to be quite low giving your actual Cash Flows & if you had to comply with normal corporate tax laws... and lets say this processing Coop was on a beautiful piece of land with a gorgeous house, staff & other amenities... all perfectly tax free.... and hence why those Wine Country real estate brokers drive around the $150k Mercedes.

This is but just one weeeeee example of how the byzantine world of quasi-hidden Agriculture subsidies (i.e., not the Direct Payments we are more familiar with) leads to some business practices that don't quite make sense....

And of course then there is the Monopolistic Competition benefits that exist in many of these large Ag Commodity industries.... the ability to increase sustain profitability for all farmers of a commodity if they all agree to sell their stuff to a few giant Coops that can then play all kinds of games of artificial scarcity, paper trading etc., to generate more money than the "honest" side of the business could yield.

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We don't grow cannellini beans. We grow runner cannellini which are not even in the same family.

I just want to say that although Steve's "runner cannellini" beans may not be the Italian white kidney cannellini beans that traditionally go into Pasta e Fagioli, as I said in an earlier post, they are what we use. And that soup is so good. One of our true favorites around here.

I'll admit that I used to use canned cannellini beans for that soup. Canned seemed to be about the same as the old cannellini beans I could find in American grocery stores, and that's when I could find them, not something I could count on.

Steve's runner cannellinis are light years better than that. So if you're fond of that soup, and finding fresh authentic Italian cannellinis is an issue, I'd suggest you try Steve's.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Italian beans, French beans, schbeans!

Anyone who has any interest in Mexican cuisine, & the place where all beans originated... where else are you going to get the heirloom varietals that are so key in truly traditional & authentic Mexican regional cooking? Yeah if you have a good Mexican market nearby you might be able to find fresh, non-GMO varietals like Flor de Mayo, Canarios, Yucatec Black Beans & Lima Beans... but beyond those it is nearly impossible to find the regional treasures that have long histories going back to ancient civilizations.

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For dinner, we often have that old Southern favorite, beans and cornbread. Sometimes we serve greens alongside, but the beans are the meal, the star. We do put beans into soups, most-notably, RG cannellini beans into Pasta e Fagioli, but for the most part, the only time we serve beans as a side dish is in a bowl of charro beans with Mexican food. We do occasionally make those sweet baked-beans as an accompaniment to fried chicken, or ham, or pork chops, etc., but the bean taste is almost non-existent after they've baked for hours in that sweet tomato sauce, so I don't really consider them in the same category as a bowl of simply-simmered RG beans. They're more like a pile of sweet, flavorful mush.

I'd love a recipe for these beans (and cornbread). Sounds like the kind of thing I might enjoy come winter!

As you are heading into summer in your part of the world, it will be some time before you get to the kind of weather where a pot of soup beans are so enjoyable.

Cornbread you can make any time.

I've had discussion with other folks living in Oz an NZ and the problem is getting really good cornmeal that works best for cornbread.

A friend who lives in Mt Dandenong buys coarse and fine polenta and mixes them together to get a cornbread similar to mine. (She stayed with me for a week several years ago and loved the cornbread.) Getting the buttermilk was a bit more of a challenge, milk heated to 90° F, mixed half and half with plain yogurt and allowed to stand overnight at room temp was the best solution.

Otherwise it is pretty straightforward as long as you know how to convert US cups to Australian measurements but a handy cooking converter works just fine.

You do need a 10 inch cast iron skillet or equivalent.

The ingredients:

2 cups cornmeal, I recommend stone ground, medium.

2 cups buttermilk, If you don’t have buttermilk use regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt, if you use kosher salt us 1 1/2 teaspoons

2 eggs, large

1 teaspoon baking soda, (do not use baking powder)

2 tablespoons hot fat (I use bacon drippings whenever possible).

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Measure the fat into the skillet and place it in the oven.

Mix the buttermilk with the cornmeal and salt.

– If adding flour, this is the time to add it.

Add the eggs and stir to mix, break up any lumps of dried ingredients.

It should look like porridge that has just begun to thicken.

Add the baking soda and stir to blend into the batter.

Remove the skillet from the oven – use care, the skillet and fat are very hot.

Pour the hot fat into the batter, stir to blend.

Quickly pour the batter into the hot skillet.

Place on center rack in the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Test with a thin-bladed knife inserted into the center. If there is moisture on the blade leave in the oven for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, repeat moisture check every 3 minutes until it comes out clean.

Remove skillet from oven, carefully turn out onto cooling rack.

Cut into wedges and serve while still warm.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The Universities of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota State University and Kansas State University and the Thomas Jefferson Institute in Missouri all keep track of domestic bean production and budgeting by producers and speculators.

Several publications, including, "Sustainable Dry Bean Production" is published annually for people in marketing crop "futures" for investors.

...Crop yields are listed by year and as I recall, some of the bean crops were up to three years old and soybeans were even older.

Having been a Jr. Executive at one of the larger Agri-Businessess in California... all I can say is that practice defies common sense & has to do with the whole intertwining of the Military-Industrial complex & the establishment of the USDA.

Let me give you an example... lets say we could get three grape growers together to establish a grape processing Cooperative (in the full legal sense)... pooling money together to establish a winer.... and then lets say we have friends who do the same & establish a 2nd grape processing Cooperative which leases time on our winery production lines & warehousing space.. and both of these Cooperatives get together to establish a grape marketing Cooperative.

The marketing Coop hires a sales person to sell the wines.. may or may not be branded. The marketing Coop can pay advances to its Coop members (in effect buying the wine... but legally it has to be called something different)

The Coop members of the Marketing Coop in effect are the two processing Coops which in turn buy the grapes from the grape growers (although legally its an Advance not a sale)...

Under the Tax Accounting rules for Coops those Advances don't count as revenue... instead the Coop must distribute the Coop profits to its members within 18 months of the Crop Year End... however Crop Expenses can be deducted the same year the expenses were incurred... so in effect you are recognizing current year expenses against revenues (and cash received) 4 years ago (on average)... as long as you are in a growing business (which is kind of guaranteed for most food commodities in a world with growing populations and where the USDA works tireless to expand export markets) then your tax bill is going to be quite low giving your actual Cash Flows & if you had to comply with normal corporate tax laws... and lets say this processing Coop was on a beautiful piece of land with a gorgeous house, staff & other amenities... all perfectly tax free.... and hence why those Wine Country real estate brokers drive around the $150k Mercedes.

This is but just one weeeeee example of how the byzantine world of quasi-hidden Agriculture subsidies (i.e., not the Direct Payments we are more familiar with) leads to some business practices that don't quite make sense....

And of course then there is the Monopolistic Competition benefits that exist in many of these large Ag Commodity industries.... the ability to increase sustain profitability for all farmers of a commodity if they all agree to sell their stuff to a few giant Coops that can then play all kinds of games of artificial scarcity, paper trading etc., to generate more money than the "honest" side of the business could yield.

Interesting. If I understood the above, the tax benefits exceed the risk of loss during storage (fire, rodents, mold, cost of storage space, etc) so that beans get bought and horded.

This behavior is documented by the universities in publications available to investors and the industry. Question then - who checks the corporations are really using FIFO? Why not buy beans now, and hold on to them essentially forever, while preferentially selling off each new corp (using stored beans to make up shortfalls as needed, and replenishing those stores as availability suits), in otherwords, LIFO? I know the IRS checks on stock option purchases, but does someone (beside the beansellers) actually care enough to check which lot gets sold and accounted to which purchase price? interesting!

Ok, but not about the food.

Two things then that make beans never really finish cooking - age and ? in the water. Someone mentioned something...

This may explain the total failure of a highschool attempt to make baked beans from scratch.


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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For dinner, we often have that old Southern favorite, beans and cornbread. Sometimes we serve greens alongside, but the beans are the meal, the star. We do put beans into soups, most-notably, RG cannellini beans into Pasta e Fagioli, but for the most part, the only time we serve beans as a side dish is in a bowl of charro beans with Mexican food. We do occasionally make those sweet baked-beans as an accompaniment to fried chicken, or ham, or pork chops, etc., but the bean taste is almost non-existent after they've baked for hours in that sweet tomato sauce, so I don't really consider them in the same category as a bowl of simply-simmered RG beans. They're more like a pile of sweet, flavorful mush.

I'd love a recipe for these beans (and cornbread). Sounds like the kind of thing I might enjoy come winter!

As you are heading into summer in your part of the world, it will be some time before you get to the kind of weather where a pot of soup beans are so enjoyable.

Cornbread you can make any time.

But how about pot beans, Andie? Any tips for cooking up a tasty mess o' pot beans?


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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There are thousands of recipes for pot beans, Jaymes. I tend to be a "purist" in that I like my beans cooked plain and the seasoning meats, if any, added at the end. I use either cooked ham hocks or thick, lean bacon cooked in water in a skillet until the water boils away but not allow browning.

The Snowcap beans from RG I cook just as I would Great Northerns - the favorite bean when I was growing up and we raised a lot of them, or the large butter beans, which were also a big crop.

If I'm not sure of the beans or I know they are a bit older, I do soak them overnight, rinse and cook for 2-3 hours over low heat, no more than a gentle simmer, or until they are sufficiently tender.

I add the seasoning meat and cook for 30 minutes or so and only then will I add salt, if needed, then pepper - I like lots of pepper, probably more than other people.

Some of the beans should break up and "thicken" the soup with just normal stirring. Rarely do I have to remove some and use an immersion blender or put them in the Vita Mix. My grandpa's cook, from whom I learned, did not need this as a wooden spoon worked just fine.

I know some people like to add carrots, celery and onion but I like my beans with coarsely chopped raw onion on the side.

I have tried and do not care for the "U.S. Senate Bean Soup" that so many people rave about.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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It's too late to edit my previous post so I should note here that I was referring to what I consider regular "southern pot beans, aka: boiled beans"

With other varieties of beans, black beans, various brown and speckled beans, black or yellow eye beans (often called "peas"), flagolets, and etc., I add different meats and vegetables that are essential for those types of ethnic dishes.

I have several bean cookbooks, including Heirloom Beans from RG.

However I also have the Bean Bible, Magic Beans, Easy Beans and More Easy Beans, Full of Beans and the Complete Bean Cookbook and some that are completely vegetarian. Also some grain and bean cookbooks that work for me.

However, there are no so many good bean dish recipes on the web that it really isn't necessary to spend money on a book if $$ are short. Spend your money on good beans, wherever you find them.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Andie and Jaymes, thanks so much for this. I have limited access to a smaller variety of beans, but I can get cannellini, kidney, borlotti, lima and black eye beans from the grocery store, and pinto and black beans from online sources. When I first made pinto beans from dried beans both my husband and I couldn't stop just taking beams from the pot, they were that good. I still haven't made refriitos from them that I'm quite happy with though. Maybe overly influenced by the canned stuff...

Andie, I've made a bit of cornbread here using polenta - i soak the polenta in buttermilk overnight, and I've been whipping the egg whites to get a lighter texture, which is lovely for breakfast, but wouldn't be good with something more solid. And when I looked up 'southern style cornbread' recipes most of them came up with sugar and cheese and sour cream and the rest - I know just enough about southern food to know that can't be quite right. I'm thrilled to have a 'proper' recipe that i can make using locally available products.

For both of you (and anyone else) are there flavoung combinations you would recommend with particular beans? Also, Jaymes, I take it you put the flavouring in as the beans cook, while Andie adds it towards the end? I'm almost wishing it was cold enough for me to try this now. Almost. :biggrin:

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How are you making the refried beans? I've seen some pretty screwed-up recipes online and in English-language cookbooks.

This might be something for a new topic, though.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Also, Jaymes, I take it you put the flavouring in as the beans cook, while Andie adds it towards the end?

I definitely would not say that.

For me, anyway, cooking up a big pot of beans is such a "by the seat of your pants" sort of endeavor that it's impossible to come up with any kind of definitive routine recipe/method. I do usually add a clove or two of garlic with the initial water, but often nothing else until the beans are tender, and sometimes not even then. I have a clay bean pot (olla) that I got in Mexico, and I'll put in the beans and water and put that pot on a low fire and add nothing else to it at all until it's done, when I sprinkle in a little salt, and then serve the beans in individual bowls with some fresh pico de gallo or salsa cruda made with onions, chiles, cilantro and tomatoes on the side to garnish.

But sometimes I will saute onions, celery, jalapenos with a little pork fat or bacon or something and some cumin or cilantro or other herb in the bottom of my big stew pot and then add the liquid and the beans. I don't usually add salt until the beans are tender, but sometimes I cook them in chicken broth, which definitely has salt. I will say that no matter what, I don't ever add acid (like tomatoes) until the beans are tender. I heard once, long ago, that adding acid will cause the beans to never soften, although I've heard others dispute that, so who knows.

I will say that what seems in my view to be the number-one most-popular bean dish in Texas is Mexican/Cowboy-style pot beans, and the main way to cook them is called Charro Beans, or Borracho Beans (you can google either term for recipes). They're usually made with pintos or Peruana or Flor de Mayo or Flor de Junio, but you can make them with basically anything. There are as many recipes as there are bean cooks, but for the most part, you cook the beans in chicken broth or water with a clove or two of garlic, until tender. "Borracho" means "drunk" in Spanish, so this denotes the addition of beer to the cooking liquid at some point. Then, after the beans are well-cooked and tender, you fry up the "seasonings," which usually include lard, some sort of chiles, onions, more garlic, cilantro, perhaps bacon or salt pork, and tomatoes. After the seasonings are fried, you add them to your pot of tender beans and simmer another half-hour or so. These soupy beans are always meant to be eaten with a spoon, in order to slurp up the juices. They are never served in a heap on your plate in the manner of sweet baked-baked beans. They are either served in bowls (at home and in many restaurants), or in paper cups or something similar (at picnics, etc.) and a spoon. The mistake many folks unfamiliar with this type of bean make is to drain them, and then try to eat them with a fork. So much of the flavor is in the juice, and it's lost if you don't slurp it up with the beans.

Fascinating subject. Never-ending possibilities.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Andie and Jaymes, thanks so much for this. I have limited access to a smaller variety of beans, but I can get cannellini, kidney, borlotti, lima and black eye beans from the grocery store, and pinto and black beans from online sources. When I first made pinto beans from dried beans both my husband and I couldn't stop just taking beams from the pot, they were that good. I still haven't made refriitos from them that I'm quite happy with though. Maybe overly influenced by the canned stuff...

Andie, I've made a bit of cornbread here using polenta - i soak the polenta in buttermilk overnight, and I've been whipping the egg whites to get a lighter texture, which is lovely for breakfast, but wouldn't be good with something more solid. And when I looked up 'southern style cornbread' recipes most of them came up with sugar and cheese and sour cream and the rest - I know just enough about southern food to know that can't be quite right. I'm thrilled to have a 'proper' recipe that i can make using locally available products.

For both of you (and anyone else) are there flavoung combinations you would recommend with particular beans? Also, Jaymes, I take it you put the flavouring in as the beans cook, while Andie adds it towards the end? I'm almost wishing it was cold enough for me to try this now. Almost. :biggrin:

Real southern cornbread is just cornmeal, salt, baking soda, eggs and buttermilk. No wheat flour, no sugar.

You can add a tablespoon or so of wheat flour but I seldom do. The first photo on my blog page is of the finished product just out of the oven. The last photo at the bottom of the page shows a wedge split and buttered.

In certain areas of the south "hot water cornbread" is favored but it is fried, not baked and to my taste is not what I consider real cornbread. Unless it is done exactly right you have corn rocks as an end result.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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There's a whole lot of deliciousness going on here. Jaymes I love the idea of plain beans with accompaniments - I imagine this is especially good with really good beans. I'm getting a better sense of what a 'pot of beans' means to some people now!

Andie, thanks for the cornbread tips. I had completely forgotten about that post!

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Well, as the kids say, OMG. I can't believe that when discussing the most-popular pot beans of Texas, I forgot about "Ranch Style."

If you're invited to the home of a Texan for Mexican food, or barbecue brisket, sausage, ribs, chicken, etc., you will indeed get a bowl of cowboy/Mexican-style charro/borracho/olla beans.

But if you're invited for steak, the chances are excellent that you'll be offered some "ranch style" beans to nestle up to your T-bone, alongside your baked potato with all the fixin's.

It's been my experience that, rather than in a separate individual bowl like charro/borracho beans, ranch-style beans are most-often served drained somewhat, and in a juicy spreading pile on your plate. The idea is that you cut yourself a piece of steak and you waller it in the ranch-style chili-gravy juices a bit before popping it into your mouth.

Every Texan is familiar with the iconic black "Ranch Style Beans" can. It's got a grinning man logo on the top right-hand side of the label, along with the words "Appetite Pleasin.'" But when I first encountered them, back in 1969, they said, "Husband Pleasin'" and they sure were. Which was why I had some.

I was living in the Philippines, where I had just met and married my native-Texan husband. Of course, the subject of foods that we missed from home often came up in our conversations. For my husband, it was Ranch Style Beans and Pearl Beer. So I had his mother send me a six-pack of each. That night, before he got home, I opened the beans and poured them into the saucepan to simmer. I took the tell-tale empty cans out to the big garbage bin in the garage to hide them, and waited for him to come home.

I don't mind telling you that I wasn't much of a cook in those days so, when hubby came in from work, he was rarely greeted with enticing aromas wafting about our small home. Most often, he was greeted with me, dressed and ready to go out to dinner somewhere. So when I told him that I had found a recipe for Texas Ranch Style Beans and had worked on them all day, there was no way he was buying it. He dumped out the kitchen garbage can and, upon finding nothing, headed for the big bin. "Ah HA," I heard him holler through the open door to the garage. "I knew it. Here they are!"

I've made them from scratch many, many times since that first experience so long ago. For those of you unfamiliar with Ranch Beans, they're actually very reminiscent of chili, with basically the same flavor profile. If you are someone that thinks of chili as a savory, spicy beef dish that has some beans added, think of Texas Ranch Beans as a savory, spicy bean dish that has some beef added.

Most of the Ranch Beans recipes call for pintos, but you can make them with red beans, chili beans, kidney beans, etc.

You cook them in beef broth. I always add a little beef as well - stewed chopped chuck, or BBQ brisket deckle, or browned hamburger meat.

This is yet another dish for which I don't have a formal recipe, but you can find many of them on the web if you google "ranch beans" or "ranch style beans."

The Homesick Texan does a pretty good job of explaining about these beans on her blog, although I note she doesn't add any beef to hers. Honestly, she should fry up about 3/4 lb or so of good-quality hamburger meat, and maybe a handful of chorizo or other bulk sausage, and try adding that.

I'll bet she'd never go back:

The Homesick Texan Ranch Style Beans

I got rid of the husband a few years ago, but I cook up pots of these wonderful homemade Ranch Beans quite often.

I've heard he's still eating his out of a can.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Not wanting to get off topic or start an argument, but my mom was a Southerner from the git go and grew up poor to boot. Her family always made cornbread with white flour added. When I think of corn bread without any flour, I think of Johnny cake which originated in New England, not the south.

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Not wanting to get off topic or start an argument, but my mom was a Southerner from the git go and grew up poor to boot. Her family always made cornbread with white flour added. When I think of corn bread without any flour, I think of Johnny cake which originated in New England, not the south.

I don't doubt it, Norm.

Some people in the south do add a bit of flour and a few people do make the cake-like stuff that is like Marie Callendar's but where I grew up it was made without flour. White flour was reserved for biscuits, dumplings, cakes, flapjacks and etc.

My grandfather owned a grist mill and farmers from all around the area brought their corn to be ground.

I ate at the homes of neighboring farmers and at church socials &etc., and no one I knew made cornbread with flour or sugar. (My dad's family has been in Kentucky since the late 1700s, before it became a state, emigrating there from North Carolina and Virginia.)

I don't think Johnny cake originated in New England (Rhode Island in particular where it is very popular), there is a history of it, then called Journey cake, in South Carolina in 1739 and it is one of the recipes in The Carolina Housewife in 1851. A note about that here.

The corn dish that certainly did originate in the New England area was Indian Pudding, sweetened with maple syrup.

I think it is interesting to speculate about how foods migrated from colony to colony during our early history.

It's also interesting that all over this continent the native peoples raised beans, corn and squash together, the "three sisters" plants and in combination these provide a complete amino acid chain as a fairly good substitute for meat proteins.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Sorry I'm getting in on this discussion so late. I am pretty bean obsessed myself. I sometimes wonder if I should have made my blog a bean-only blog!

Agree on the Good Mother Stallards, they are the best. But the big revelation for me was Rancho Gordo's Christmas Lima beans. I put off buying them for so long because of the name – I really dislike lima beans. But it turns out these have nothing in common with regular old lima beans. First, they are gigantic. And they have a really unique flavor and texture, very earthy. I wasn't sure what to do with them but someone from Rancho Gordo said they were really good with mushrooms. So I made up a simple bean and mushroom stew and it blew me away. I also made the best baked beans with their Goat's Eye beans.

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Also, Jaymes, I take it you put the flavouring in as the beans cook, while Andie adds it towards the end?

I definitely would not say that.

For me, anyway, cooking up a big pot of beans is such a "by the seat of your pants" sort of endeavor that it's impossible to come up with any kind of definitive routine recipe/method. I do usually add a clove or two of garlic with the initial water, but often nothing else until the beans are tender, and sometimes not even then. I have a clay bean pot (olla) that I got in Mexico, and I'll put in the beans and water and put that pot on a low fire and add nothing else to it at all until it's done, when I sprinkle in a little salt, and then serve the beans in individual bowls with some fresh pico de gallo or salsa cruda made with onions, chiles, cilantro and tomatoes on the side to garnish.

But sometimes I will saute onions, celery, jalapenos with a little pork fat or bacon or something and some cumin or cilantro or other herb in the bottom of my big stew pot and then add the liquid and the beans. I don't usually add salt until the beans are tender, but sometimes I cook them in chicken broth, which definitely has salt. I will say that no matter what, I don't ever add acid (like tomatoes) until the beans are tender. I heard once, long ago, that adding acid will cause the beans to never soften, although I've heard others dispute that, so who knows.

I will say that what seems in my view to be the number-one most-popular bean dish in Texas is Mexican/Cowboy-style pot beans, and the main way to cook them is called Charro Beans, or Borracho Beans (you can google either term for recipes). They're usually made with pintos or Peruana or Flor de Mayo or Flor de Junio, but you can make them with basically anything. There are as many recipes as there are bean cooks, but for the most part, you cook the beans in chicken broth or water with a clove or two of garlic, until tender. "Borracho" means "drunk" in Spanish, so this denotes the addition of beer to the cooking liquid at some point. Then, after the beans are well-cooked and tender, you fry up the "seasonings," which usually include lard, some sort of chiles, onions, more garlic, cilantro, perhaps bacon or salt pork, and tomatoes. After the seasonings are fried, you add them to your pot of tender beans and simmer another half-hour or so. These soupy beans are always meant to be eaten with a spoon, in order to slurp up the juices. They are never served in a heap on your plate in the manner of sweet baked-baked beans. They are either served in bowls (at home and in many restaurants), or in paper cups or something similar (at picnics, etc.) and a spoon. The mistake many folks unfamiliar with this type of bean make is to drain them, and then try to eat them with a fork. So much of the flavor is in the juice, and it's lost if you don't slurp it up with the beans.

Fascinating subject. Never-ending possibilities.

Just wanted to point out that in Mexico there is distinction between Frijoles Borrachos & Frijoles Charros... Charros often (usually) have Chorizo wheras the Borrachos don't & the Charros don't typically have Beer while the Borrachos do... and also some regional recipes call for Tequila, Sotol, Pulque, Tepache or Tejuino (with secondary fermentation) instead of Beer.

And then of course there is the closely related Frijoles Maneados... which can best be thought of as the "Risotto" of pot beans... where the beans are cooked low & slow with additional broth / seasoned water until the beans distingrate into a cloudy, velvety texture on their own / not mechanically... there is also the familiar garlic, chorizo & bacon that finds there way into the dish & then finished off with Asadero melting cheese that is allowed to disintegrate into the body.

Never ending possibilities indeed.

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Sorry I'm getting in on this discussion so late. I am pretty bean obsessed myself. I sometimes wonder if I should have made my blog a bean-only blog!

Agree on the Good Mother Stallards, they are the best. But the big revelation for me was Rancho Gordo's Christmas Lima beans. I put off buying them for so long because of the name – I really dislike lima beans. But it turns out these have nothing in common with regular old lima beans. First, they are gigantic. And they have a really unique flavor and texture, very earthy. I wasn't sure what to do with them but someone from Rancho Gordo said they were really good with mushrooms. So I made up a simple bean and mushroom stew and it blew me away. I also made the best baked beans with their Goat's Eye beans.

Lima beans are pretty fantastic.. in their dried form they have a very interesting muskiness to them that evoked truffle oil, but have suffered character assassination at the hands of commodity frozen vegetable mixes. Nopales in pureed Lima Bean soup is a classic of Mexico State.. and would convince any doubters with a single bite.

BTW... fresh green Lima Beans are fantastic as well...


Edited by EatNopales (log)

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Not wanting to get off topic or start an argument, but my mom was a Southerner from the git go and grew up poor to boot. Her family always made cornbread with white flour added. When I think of corn bread without any flour, I think of Johnny cake which originated in New England, not the south.

I don't doubt it, Norm.

Some people in the south do add a bit of flour and a few people do make the cake-like stuff that is like Marie Callendar's but where I grew up it was made without flour. White flour was reserved for biscuits, dumplings, cakes, flapjacks and etc.

My grandfather owned a grist mill and farmers from all around the area brought their corn to be ground.

I ate at the homes of neighboring farmers and at church socials &etc., and no one I knew made cornbread with flour or sugar. (My dad's family has been in Kentucky since the late 1700s, before it became a state, emigrating there from North Carolina and Virginia.)

I don't think Johnny cake originated in New England (Rhode Island in particular where it is very popular), there is a history of it, then called Journey cake, in South Carolina in 1739 and it is one of the recipes in The Carolina Housewife in 1851. A note about that here.

The corn dish that certainly did originate in the New England area was Indian Pudding, sweetened with maple syrup.

I think it is interesting to speculate about how foods migrated from colony to colony during our early history.

It's also interesting that all over this continent the native peoples raised beans, corn and squash together, the "three sisters" plants and in combination these provide a complete amino acid chain as a fairly good substitute for meat proteins.

I don't doubt anything you say. As I said before, I don't want to argue or open a debate, especially about a subject that is ancillary to the main topic but my maternal great grandfather and grandfather were both dirt poor Southern farmers. My grandfather lost the farm during the 30's and the family became itinerate cotton pickers. I have eaten cornbread in homes in Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi and never had it except as a quick bread with wheat flour and baking powder/soda added, but no sugar usually. I just don't feel that it is entirely accurate to say "Real southern cornbread is just cornmeal, salt, baking soda, eggs and buttermilk. No wheat flour, no sugar."

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Not arguing, not debating, Norm. There are indeed variations all over the south and even among neighborhoods and even families. Some time ago I compiled several pages of links to web sites with "Real Southern Cornbread" in their titles. The recipes are all over the map from plain cornmeal to a little flour to equal flour. They are all interesting and fun to try. Some agree with my preference, some do not, but they are all "authentic" for the people who prepare them.

Perhaps the gal who wrote this has the best idea.

Today I have a batch of Mark beans soaking and will partially cook them later today in preparation for making cassoulet from Saveur tomorrow. I have everything for the recipe except the confit duck legs but as they are optional anyway, I'm omitting them.

The recipe calls for great northern beans but I want to see how it works with the Mark beans.

They are pretty.

Mark beans 1.JPG

I'm partially cooking the beans ahead of time because on one occasion in the past I made cassoulet with beans that I had simply soaked, as instructed in the recipe and had marbles in my finished dish. Not at all nice. Taking no chances now.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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This thread just made me register at Rancho Gordo and order a pound of pinto beans and a pound of Good Mother Stollard beans.

I shall report on results. (I usually dried Goyas from the local supermarket here in NYC.)

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