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Ranch Style Beans

By 8:22 AM , , ,

I was looking for a side dish or two to go with the Tacos Carne Asada Hubby was making for our Mexican themed dinner a few weeks ago.  Of course, it did cross my mind to make my go-to beans, but they aren't really Mexican, or even "Tex-Mex".  Additionally, they have such a strong flavor, I didn't want something that would take away from the tacos, but instead, complement them.

I've been reading the blog Homesick Texan for awhile now. I'm a big fan of a lot of her recipes and have bookmarked quite a few. When I found her recipe for Ranch Style Beans, I knew they'd be perfect.

I was also excited to make this recipe because I'd never made a bean recipe that started with dry beans (I know, gasp!) nor had I ever cooked with, much less rehydrated ancho chiles.

I used the "quick" soak method instead of the overnight soaking, which worked just fine.  

Also, the recipe calls for simmering for 2 1/2 to 4 hours. At about 3 hours the beans were done, but I thought the liquid was still too thin, so I allowed it to simmer and then brought to a quick boil at 4 hours. The results was a wonderful thick sauce surrounding the beans, and the beans were still fine in doneness.

Though I've had dishes with ancho chiles before, I really couldn't remember their flavor, so I was a little unsure what to expect. But these actually were pretty mild (especially for Hubby & I who love heat). These beans were very good and were a big hit with Hubby and our guests. Hubby & I probably would have preferred the beans to be a little spicier, but they paired very well with the tacos and in fact, were excellent used as a filling inside of the warm corn tortillas.

Ranch Style Beans

16 oz. of dried pinto beans
6 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 15 oz. can of tomatoes (or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup of water
6 cups of beef broth
Salt and black pepper to taste


Soak the beans covered in water—either overnight or the quick soak method in which you place the beans in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat and let sit for one hour.

Drain the soaked beans.

In a cast-iron skillet heated up to medium high, cook the anchos on each side for a couple of minutes (or until they start to bubble and pop), turn off the heat and fill the skillet with warm water. Let them sit until soft and rehydrated, which should happen after half an hour or so.

In the pot you’ll be cooking your beans, heat up a teaspoon of canola oil and cook the onions for ten minutes on medium. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Throw the cooked onions and garlic in a blender and add the tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, cumin, oregano, water and hydrated ancho chiles. Puree until smooth.

Add the pinto beans and beef broth to the pot and stir in the chile puree. On high, bring the pot to a boil and then cover; turn the heat down to low and simmer for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally. At this point, I check my beans for tenderness as depending on the freshness of the beans I find that the cooking time can be as short as two and a half hours and as long as four hours. When you're satisfied that the beans are done, salt and pepper to taste.

Feeds four to six.

Notes: If you can’t find dried ancho chiles, you can substitute either ancho chile powder or regular chili powder. I’d use 1/4 of a cup. These are not fiery beans, but if you want a bit more heat I'd throw in a bit of Cayenne. And I always add a pinch of baking soda to my soaking beans to help with digestion issues. You may do the same.

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