Beans Rancheros


Please accept my apologies because this post is long overdue, but I’ve realized that cooking food is more fun than writing about food.  But, that’s the cool thing about hobbies…you can work on them when you want and take a break when you need to.  I decided to take some time to work on letting my faithful readers know that I’m still alive and blogging.

This recipe has become one of my go-to recipes this summer.  I’ve made it at least four times and it’s on the menu for the coming week, too.  I found the recipe in Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook and it’s exactly the kind of thing Kip would like, so I gave it a shot.  He likes it enough that he made it one weekend when I was out of town, which is a good thing because it’s the only decent picture I have of the dish.

Some food writers think that their recipes should be followed exactly, since they spent a significant amount of time developing their recipe.  I can understand that and when I find a cookbook that I really like, I buy it from my local bookstore to show my support for the author’s work.  Another reason I buy the book is to use as a reference.  I make notes in my cookbooks, which I think I learned from my mom.  So, sticking to a recipe isn’t my style.  I use recipes as suggestions and play around with different versions.

Beans Rancheros is a perfect example of how I’ve changed the recipe, with varying degrees of success.  Here’s the basic recipe:  3 cups of cooked and drained black beans, 2-3 chopped tomatoes, 1-2 chopped chipotle chiles, 1 teaspoon cumin, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup chopped green onions, and a lime wedge for garnish.  The idea is that you lightly mash the beans and tomatoes together with the spices and bake it until it thickens up a bit and is bubbly.  Then, you take a big spoon and make 4 indentations in the beans and crack an egg into each spot.  You put it back in the oven until the eggs are done and then garnish.

Version #1: As a Yankee, I can’t handle anything spicy, so the chiles had to go.  Next, I get grossed out by eggs that aren’t scrambled, so that had to change.
Verdict: Kip enjoyed this more than I did, but I like the idea of a bean-based dish, so I would definitely be making this again.

Version #2: We were experiencing record high temperatures and that meant I was going to attempt this on the stove top.
Verdict: Not a good idea.  It tasted okay, but as you can see, it wasn’t exactly appetizing.

Version #3: I used Rancho Gordo’s Black Calyposo Beans, added 2 teaspoons of peppadew powder and half a pound of chopped, cooked bacon and used a 14oz can of diced and drained tomatoes.
Verdict: This one is amazing!  I’ll keep increasing the peppadew, since it’s the only spicy flavor I really enjoy.  I had picked up a bag of the beans when I was in San Antonio and I need to find a local source for them.  They were the best I’d ever had.  They’re so good, that now I’m hesitant to make this recipe again without them because I’ll be sad without the calypso bean goodness.  Kip agrees that the beans were great, but thinks the recipe will be just fine without them.


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