Western-Style Beans

I love beans.  We ate a lot of them growing up – they were cheap and relatively simple, if time-consuming, to prepare.

Of course, when we changed our diet legumes were one of the first things we drastically reduced; compared to fruits and vegetables, legumes are somewhat lacking nutritionally and the protein they provide simply does not compare either in quantity or quality to the protein found in animal foods (meat, eggs, dairy).  They also contain a hefty amount of low-grade toxins known as lectins which bind not only to the nutrients in the legumes themselves, preventing your body from absorbing the vitamins and minerals, but also the nutrients in any foods consumed with the legumes.  Soaking, sprouting or fermenting beans will neutralize some of the lectins, but will not eliminate them.

Now, that being said, if beans are properly prepared there are certainly worse things you could be eating (the box of pumpkin-shaped, heavily-frosted sugar cookies a client shipped to our office comes immediately to mind – and no, I have not touched them…well, other than to play “catch” with Beloved with one, so we could tell people we were tossing our cookies).  I make one batch of black beans in the early fall when sweet corn is in season so we can enjoy Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa, and recently I made this recipe to go with a HUGE brisket that Beloved smoked.

When I first moved to northeast Ohio, I sorely missed Ranch Style Beans which had been a staple in my mother’s Taco Salad – something of an institution in our family; so popular, in fact, that Oldest Son, who only performs the most rudimentary cooking, often makes it himself.  I missed them so badly that I asked everyone who came to visit us from Texas to smuggle cans in their luggage.  (What’s amusing about that is that after awhile I had so many cans that I gave many of them away – we simply couldn’t eat them all.)  While Taco Salad is no longer on the menu, the beans go very, very well with smoked and barbecued food, and when I suggested them to Beloved as a treat with our brisket, his eyes lit up.

So, here they are (I just don’t call them “Ranch Style Beans” here because there’s the whole brand-name thing and all).  I don’t miss burgers or pizza or candy or cookies or cake or pie (well, maybe pie a little bit), but when it comes to thinking about what I’m going to eat 20% of the time that might be less than optimal for my health and well-being, properly prepared beans are definitely an option.  And when made in this recipe, a delicious one at that.

Note:  A tablespoon or two of vinegar or lemon juice in the soaking water will help neutralize those pesky lectins – just make sure to drain and rinse the beans after you’ve soaked them.

Western-Style Beans

Western-Style Beans

serves 8

1 pound dried pinto beans
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon lard or butter
2 cups tomato sauce
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup water
6 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Soak the beans overnight (or longer), covered in very warm water. Drain the soaked beans.

In a 6-quart stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the tablespoon of lard or butter over medium heat and cook the onions for until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the tomato sauce, ancho chile power, coconut sugar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, cumin, oregano, water and beef stock.

Stir in the soaked pinto beans; bring the pot to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for two and ahalf to four hours, stirring occasionally, or until the beans are tender and the chili sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve.

Nutrition (per serving): 271 calories, 3.1g total fat, 1.5mg cholesterol, 735.9mg sodium, 1428.6mg potassium, 45.2g carbohydrates, 11.2g fiber, 6g sugar, 17.3g protein.

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Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

7 thoughts on “Western-Style Beans”

  1. I’m hungry. I think I stretched my stomach out a zillion times while in Boston. Maybe I’ll make chili … because suddenly beans sound good! : )


    I ordered a new laptop today and all I can afford to eat for now on is beans. : (

  2. Pingback: Fish Tacos

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