Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tribute Beans

You know that feeling when you are digging around in the freezer and come up with a frozen gem you had forgotten because it was there for 'way too long?  A mixture of puzzlement (what is that? when did I put it in there?) and triumph (wow, cool thing for dinner!). That's just how I felt when I unearthed a smoked turkey thigh that I bought 'way back in 2017 and forgot. I couldn't even remember where I purchased it until I read the label - El Cerrito Natural Grocery!

I also had some pinto beans from Rancho Gordo that were a gift from Ferrari-Carano vineyards last Christmas when we attended their holiday celebration with Cousin Jan. So, I put the beans to soak and the turkey to thaw, dreaming of dinner the next day.

And the day after that. And the day after that! I forgot that what looks like a small package of beans makes a boatload once soaked, so I had plenty for us and for our neighbor Doreen, who was suffering from bronchitis. 

I used as my template a recipe that came with the beans, a recipe dear to the heart of Don Carano, the founder of the winery who passed away last year. I like the idea of giving beans as a tribute to Don, don't you?

I did change up the recipe. Don't I always?

Smoked Turkey and Pinto Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans
2 cups water, or 2 cups of chicken broth, enough to cover (I used water)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 pound lean bacon or salt pork (I used lardons)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 fresh sage leaves or 1/4 tsp dried (I'm not a big sage fan, so I omitted this)
1 small hot red pepper, dried, with seeds removed (didn't have so I did a generous shaking of Cholula hot sauce instead)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (didn't have, so used soy sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

*1 smoked turkey thigh, cubed off the bone (not Don's idea)

Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse. In a medium pot, sauté bacon, onion, and garlic, Add beans and cover with water or chicken broth. Add 2 chicken bouillon cubes if using water. Add sage, red pepper, chili powder, sugar, salt and pepper. (*Here, I added my smoked turkey meat to cook along with the beans. It was already cooked, but I wanted it to share its goodness with the beans). Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Add Worcestershire sauce and adjust seasonings. Serve with Italian sweet sausages, French bread, and Ferrari-Carano Zinfandel.

 So good, so deeply smoky and satisfying, so sustaining and warming were these beans and turkey that we ate them for a week and still weren't tired of them by the time we got to the bottom of the pot. The sauce that formed around them was perhaps the best part - I literally scraped the bottom of the bowl to get every drop. Goozle heaven!

Next time, I'll make half the recipe but, all in all, I think Don would have been pleased with his tribute beans.


Blogger nancy namaste said...

Sounds delicious. I made a complete mess of my usual New Year's Black Eyed peas recipe as I haven't recovered my cooking mojo since my stroke. But I bet if I follow your recipe, my next try will turn out perfect. So great to see you posting again although your images from your visit to Hawaii were beautiful. And your post on Hawaii - well, you didn't leave your heart in SF. You left it in Hawaii.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018  
Blogger Katie Zeller said...

Smoked turkey - another thing we can't get here.... The French are just not into smoked food. There is lots of ham - pressed and sliced thinly for sandwiches, but never a whole cut for roasting. But I could do something with those beans.....

Sunday, January 28, 2018  

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