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What are your favorite ways to use vallarta and/or ayocote morado beans?

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I recently picked up a 16 oz bag of each from Rancho Gordo, and would love to hear how others put these to best use.

Also, any other heirloom beans I should be considering?

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  1. I LOVE vallarta beans; they might be the best beans I have ever tasted. Steve from Rancho Gordo just emailed out this recipe, which I think would be great with vallarta beans:

    Cranberry Beans with Sweet Peppers and Fried Bread

    Beans combined with sautéed sweet peppers and onions make the base of this simple dish. Chunks of bread lightly fried in olive oil are scattered across the top to finish. Be sure to reserve the bean broth. This makes the perfect accompaniment for a grilled leg of lamb and you can use the some of the jus in the beans.

    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    ½ onion, thinly sliced
    2 cups thinly sliced mixed sweet peppers
    3 cups cooked, seasoned Borlotti or Royal Corona beans with reserved broth
    Sea salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch of saffron
    ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
    1 tablespoon fresh oregano
    2 tablespoons meat jus—chicken, pork, beef, if available (optional)

    For the topping:
    1 (4-inch) piece of baguette or coarse artisan bread
    Extra-virgin olive oil for frying
    Sea salt

    In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions; cook, reducing the heat to medium, until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the peppers. Continue to cook, stirring as needed, until the onions and peppers are very soft, about 15 minutes. Do not brown.

    Preheat oven to 400° F.

    Pour the onions, peppers and their cooking juices into a gratin dish. Add the drained beans and turn several times. Add a tablespoon or 2 of the reserved broth. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus the saffron, cumin and half the oregano, and the optional meat jus. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

    To make the topping, cut the crust from the bread. Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces.

    In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, add the bread and sauté until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt.

    With a slotted spoon place the fried bread bits on top of the beans and peppers.

    Place in the oven and cook until bubbling and the bread is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining oregano. Serves 4

    1. I'm a bean club member with Rancho Gordo (I get 6lbs delivered quarterly), I think the last pot I cooked up was the ayocote morado beans. Are they the larger black beans? If so, these beans were very good added to salads, but I didn't appreciate them added to the veg soup I made. I typically cook a pot of beans weekly to have them on hand to add them to salads, soups, mash them up for dips or spreads. I have several bean cookbooks and am always scanning for bean recipes.

      My favorite beans to use for pot beans are the rio zape. They are similar to pintos (dark brown colored), but more flavorful, creamy, and have a great pot liquor.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pagesinthesun

        Actually, I think the ayocote morado is a maroon colored bean. Same color as a kidney bean. The are a large bean.

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Yes, now that you mention it, they were more maroon colored.

      2. I like them with pork shoulder (beans and pork cooked separately) and greens, served over rice - or - with corn tortillas

        1. We often make this recipe with ayocote morado beans in place of the scarlet runners:
          http://www.cuesa.org/recipe/farro-ris...
          The beans are big and hearty enough that this makes a good one-dish meal for us.

          1. This recipe recommends the Tarbais beans, and has alternatives listed for sorrel. Really great technique for cooking the beans that adds a nice texture.
            http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/05/...

            I loved this recipe for barlotti beans, may be better in cooler weather though
            http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2011/02...

            This great bean stew would work with any of the white beans, or similar
            http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

            I also often use a mix of lightly crushed beans (like with the back of a wooden spoon) with chopped walnuts, cumin, lime juice and salt/pepper as a taco filling or in quesadillas- with cooked from scratch beans its really delicious!

            Oh, and always save the bean "broth" from cooking for furture soups.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Thanks, I have a bag of Tarbais beans at home, and the recipe looks so delicious!

              I got a bunch of Rancho Gordo beans for Christmas and have been working my way through them slowly. I love beans but unfortunately my kids won't eat them so I don't make them as much as I'd like. So far my favorites are the Christmas limas.