What Rancho Gordo does best though is beans – specifically Amerindian heirloom varieties, which they’ve championed and are bringing back to the mainstream. What they are doing and selling is truly extraordinary, and has accidentally got me into making occasional vegetarian and even vegan dishes.
One strain in particular has me totally addicted: Good Mother Stallard, a reddish-brown speckled bean. These are so earthy, deep and delicious they resemble a heritage pork chop in a bean. Rancho Gordo writes, “Just this bean, some onion, some garlic and a splash of olive oil are all you need for cooking and the result is a luscious bean fiesta,” and they are pretty much on it.
I usually make the Stallards using the no-soak method developed by Russ Parsons (I tried them with soaking once and definitely prefer the no-soak). It’s quicker and preserves more of the flavor, though the Stallards require closer to 2 hours rather than the 90 minutes prescribed by Parsons. Just keep tasting toward the end.
I add aromatics halfway through the cooking process – tonight, it was carrots, shallots, some of Rancho Gordo’s intense, lemon-y oregano indio, chopped parsley and smashed garlic cloves. I also had a bunch of Jamaican scotch bonnets, a fresh jalapeno and some more fresh parsley to scatter over the top once it came out, along with a lime wedge. Served on white rice.
But really, I could have done without any of the toppings. The Stallards have everything they need inside them. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.