Tuesday, November 20, 2012

bolitas bean salad



steve sando, of rancho gordo fame, recently sent an email update lamenting the absence of beans on this country's thanksgiving day menu.  his point was that the feast celebrates food from the "new world". so why are beans left off the table?  as steve says:

"I maintain that dried beans (cooked, natch) belong on the table with the turkey, the cranberries, the wild rice, the potatoes and other New World foods."

i couldn't agree more.  i will go a little bit further and add chiles.  don't you think the traditional dishes are sometimes a tiny but bland?  delicious...but bland.   a bit of heat sounds wonderful to me.

so...this year i am adding a spicy bean salad to my holiday table.  served at room temperature, the beans are paired with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and jalapeno.  the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, spices and herbs are the perfect complement to turkey...and taste delicious with all the other side dishes.   give it a try and let me know what you think.

bolitas bean salad
(adapted from a rio culebra recipe)

8 oz bolitas beans, rinsed
2  tomatoes
1 red onion, chopped
1 english cucumber, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp organic seasoned rice vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt
pepper

add beans to large stockpot and cover with water by 3-4 inches.  bring to a boil and then reduce heat to high simmer.  cook until beans are tender.  (note, cooking times depend on how fresh your beans are.  fresh dried beans, like the ones sold by rio culebra or rancho gordo take about 2-3 hours to cook.  older beans, like the ones bought at the supermarket, can take considerably longer...4-6 hours.  plan accordingly and begin testing every 30 minutes after 2 hours.  they should be al dente...like pasta...when ready.  drain beans (save that bean juice!)**  and add beans to a large bowl. add tomatoes, onion, cucumber, jalapeno and garlic to bowl. gently toss.  add lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, pepper flakes, large pinch each of salt and pepper.  toss and taste. adjust seasonings if needed.  (i usually need to add more salt because the beans were not salted while cooking).  add cilantro, toss one more time and serve warm or at room temperature.
*for spicier salad add the jalapeno seeds
**bean juice has tons of flavor and nutrients.  i use it in place of stock for soups and stews.  i cook greens in the juice to add flavor and sweetness.

note, i used bolitas beans for this recipe, but pinto, black or anasazi are equally good.  i am a big fan of the beans from rancho gordo but, now that i live in taos, new mexico i am trying to shop locally whenever possible.  i have recently discovered rio culebra, a cooperative of farmers from southern colorado (a short drive from taos).  their beef and lamb are 100% grass fed without the use of any antibiotics or added hormones.  their beans and corn are sustainably grown with no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.  the crops have been adapted to our 8000 foot elevation and shorter growing season.  i discovered them at the last taos farmers' market of the year.  i look forward to telling you more about this wonderful group of ranchers and farmers in upcoming posts.  for now...check them out...they have an online store. 

it is favorite thanksgiving side week at food network's fall fest.  check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends:

Feed Me Phoebe: Five Spice Winter Squash Soup
Chez Us: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Virtually Homemade: Brussels Sprouts Salad With Avocado and a Tangerine Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spicy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Red or Green?: Bolitas Bean Salad
And Love It, Too: Potatoes Au Gratin (Gluten and Dairy-Free)
Devour: Thanksgiving Yam and Sweet Potato Sides That Are Almost Desserts
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing or Dressing
Cooking With Books: Rosemary and Pear Potato Salad
FN Dish: Old School Sweet Potato Soufflé

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and please visit my other blogs:
california girl in taos
napa farmhouse 1885

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