Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gaucho Beans

Sorry, no picture since I'm in the throes of unpacking after a move and my camera is..... somewhere......

Years ago, my parents fell in love with a Basque restaurant in California's Central Valley. Everytime they were within a hundred miles, they would stop and eat, and then rave about the food to me, particularly the beans. Now is a good time to tell you that my father has always been crazy about beans - any kind of beans, cooked any way. Being a good New England boy, his favorite has always been homemade Boston baked beans, but that will be another post. Anyway, they asked for the recipe of these beans many times, but never received it. I ate at that restaurant twice, and after the second time, my mother and I decided to try to duplicate the flavor. First, I went to the library to look at Basque cookbooks, or should I say, cookbook, which had one bean recipe with the interesting addition of coffee as the liquid. So, we experimented and finally came up with a recipe which is delicious and tastes pretty similar. We called it Gaucho Beans. Check out the vegan version of this recipe here on my vegan food blog.

I had this for dinner over rice last night, with a salad on the side and some applesauce for dessert. It was a pretty filling and delicious dinner, with plenty of leftovers for lunch this week.

Gaucho Beans

1 lb dry beans, picked over and soaked overnight (I used cranberry beans this time)
6 slices bacon
1 lg onion, quartered, then sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp rosemary
1/8 tsp thyme
2 whole cloves
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp beef bouillion powder
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce (I used 1tsp Sriracha)
2 Tbs fruit vinegar (I used raspberry)
2 oz brandy
2 C coffee (or 1tsp instant coffee powder plus 2 C water)
3 C water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 C or more chopped fresh cilantro

Dice bacon and saute for a couple of minutes to render the fat. Without removing the bacon from the pan, saute the onions and garlic in the bacon fat until wilted. Add the rosemary, thyme, cloves, mustard, cumin, bay leaf, chili powder and Tabasco, and saute for a minute or two to bring out the flavor without burning the spices. Add the bouillion powder, vinegar and brandy and saute another minute, then add 2 cups strong coffee, 3 cups water and the soaked and drained beans. Note that there is no salt or pepper - add salt at the end of cooking, since salt tends to toughen bean skins when added during cooking.

Crock pot: cook on low for 8 - 10 hours

Pressure cooker: cook at 15 lbs pressure for 12 minutes

Stove top: simmer gently, partially covered, for about an hour.

When beans are creamy soft, but still retain their shape and have not burst, stir in salt and pepper to taste (I used an equal amount of Tony Chachere's seasoning salt instead of salt and pepper). Stir in the cilantro just prior to serving. Lightly mash a few of the beans to give the liquid some body and serve over rice, potatoes or noodles, or even as a side dish. This would be particularly delicious over cornmeal waffles, I think.


Mimi said...

Hey, my great-grandfather was Basque~ I must hear more about this restaurant. And, try this recipe. Thanks

Desmone007 said...

Nice recipe! Thanks for sharing.
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