I first discovered Rancho Gordo heirloom dried beans through a friend. Steve Sando's story of traveling in South America and wondering why the bean flavors were so different from ours in the U.S. intrigued me. He brought some back and started Rancho Gordo in Napa, Calif. and now sells a wide variety of delicious beans. I've had fun trying them and thought I'd share my experience.
Use your slow cooker or cook in your heaviest pot on the stove with some leftover water from steaming vegetables or water or broth (I hate throwing out that broccoli or beet water! It's so pretty). Cover the beans about 3 inches and cook on high in a slow cooker for 2-3 hours. You can soak the beans overnight and they will cook faster. Some people believe it keeps from giving you gas but that's debatable. Be patient, if they are still hard, cook them longer. There is no wrong way to make Rancho Gordo beans other than burning them in my book.
I always saute the onion, carrots, and celery in my black cast iron frying pan in olive oil or if I'm feeling reckless.....half butter/olive oil before adding to the beans or any soup. Rather than throwing everything at once into the soup pot. It adds a lot of flavors, especially if you use butter! So does an uncured ham hock or a piece of smoked ham. It depends if you want it vegan or not which is the whole reason I started cooking beans, to find a meatless alternative.
Add a bay leaf and rosemary sprig and hold the salt and pepper until the end. Then add some red wine... or a lot!
Of course, you know it will taste much better if served in an Annieglass bowl. Shown here is the Salt Medium Bowl from the Salt Collection. I love the generous 10" diameter. It's great for a big dinner salad too.BUY ME