Full of Beans... Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans

The wonderful world of Rancho Gordo.

Easy to spend $50 to get free shipping @js76wisco when there’s so many varietals and you’re a bean lover and you can’t make up your mind. :relaxed: This haul is a Sampler box, plus favorites and interesting finds.

Yellow Indian Woman (USA)

Just look at that bean gravy.

I was skeptical about this pretty, little, yellow bean. Some skins were wrinkled even before soaking. No fear. They plump & smooth nicely, firm, but velvety & sooo creamy w/a slight sweetness (good for baked beans) and deliciously colorful broth. Makes luscious bean broth shots (yes, bean broth shots!). Sautéed finely chopped Carrot, Celery, Small Onion, Bay Leaf, 4 Garlic Cloves, 1 Chili Pod, added Chili Powder Blend, Smoked Paprika, Oregano, Olive Oil, Simmered in 1/2 Water 1/2 Low-sodium Chicken Broth. When beans soften a bit added Unsalted Butter, skosh of Red Wine Vinegar (to cut the sweet) & lightly Smoked Maldon Salt, a cup of Smashed Beans to thicken broth. Maybe because I soaked them overnight but they seem to be a faster cooking bean (about 1-1/2 hrs on stovetop). They make great Refried Beans.

They go perfectly with a favorite steak - thin cut San Lucas Ribeyes, sprinkled w/salt & pepper

I would’ve liked more char on that meat but our pesky, new smoke detectors went off. Modern gadget overkill.

Midnight Black Beans + Beyond Bratwurst

Best little Black Beans. They need the minimum of water and very little if any soaking usually needed for quicker cook time. Even after tossing out the soaking liquid they still produce rich bean broth. Sautéed the usual aromatics and added the same spices as the Yellow Indian Women w/Vegan Butter instead of butter butter. Pan-fried the Brat for flavor & firmness and added later w/the Smoked Salt, skosh of Soy Sauce and or a tad Veggie Better Than Bullion.

Cheesy Polenta

This was packed to go with instructions for the kid to put in the oven for melty cheese, but most likely achieved success in a microwave. I like to pour the black beans on top of my polenta.

The folks @ranchogordo are on an indigenous bean mission, partnering with others to support small farmers growing rare, little gems, like these awesome Mexican Moro Beans.

The Moro Bean is the prettier middle sister of the Black & the Pinto bean. Hard to describe - they’re velvety and pinto bean creamy with a black bean flavor, but bolder. The skins are soft but sealed to the flesh almost like one. For cooking they require and soak up more liquid than black beans. I hard boiled for 10 minutes, sat them for an hour then cooked in the inky soaking liquid. The bean broth was incredible! and the beans held up beautifully to the punishment of Niman Ranch Smoked Bacon, lots of Aromatics & Spices, the early addition of leftover Bean Broth which contained salt and probably a little vinegar. Every time I declare a favorite bean another one comes along. As of now this is my favorite. Excellent Refried Beans.

Bean Cooking Tips:

  1. Rinse and check beans for any debris. Soaking is not mandatory but helps cook faster. I try not to soak for more than 6 hrs. My preferred method right now is 10 minute hard boil and soak for an hour before cooking. Cook in soaking liquid or not. Some say discarding reduces gas but it’s hard for me to throw out that lovely vitamin rich liquid.

  2. I add everything at the same time (vedge, spices, beans, liquids, oil) except salt & salty meats, butter, acids like vinegar & tomatoes, which are added when beans are softer. I broke this rule with the Moros and cooked them in leftover bean broth. The strong bean held up well, skins weren’t tough and the cook time wasn’t slowed.

  3. An important thing to me is after an initial 5-10 minute hard boil is to let them simmer Never Boil. Simmer in Water & Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (optional) 2” above bean level, partially covered w/lid, anywhere from 1-1/2 to 3 hrs, depending on the bean. You can add more water if necessary or cook with lid off at the end to reduce if too watery.

  4. I’m tempted but don’t have a pressure cooker or instapot for faster cooking. Some feel slow produces more flavor. My Le Creuset & slow-cooker are in storage so I’m using a stainless steel tamale/pasta pot on really low heat. I actually like the challenge.

  5. This is a lot of info and I’m probably forgetting something. Check for edits and feel free to ask questions. Don’t be daunted @chinchi. You’re a good cook and long cooking is the easiest - soak, sauté stuff, add beans, water, spices, short boil, then simmer while watching TV or whatever for a couple hours, checking every now & then (don’t let them boil), add fats, meats, salts, acids when beans have softened (about an hour+) and cook for another 30-40 minutes.

I was expecting to dig into lots of bowls of warm, comforting beans & bean soups this winter season, except we’re not having much winter. So I’m finally going to follow Steve Sando & his crew’s advice and make salads, dips & purées with cooked dry beans (made ahead) instead of canned.

Bonus: @ranchogordo is a pretty established company with lots of customers, but still treat their customers like a mom & pop. They always respond to my emails when I have questions. They have an email newsletter and there’s a lot of info on the website. Also looking forward to joining Bean Club @js76wisco!

P.S. No pressure @coffeezeri. We’re all busy people. But this thread needs a Rancho Gordo Posole dish! :hugs:

And if anyone has a Bean Recipe that doesn’t include Rancho Gordo please feel free to post it anyway!

Happy Bean Eating!


I’ve used many of their bean varieties in my cooking . Always A + .

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I’ve always loved beans and had a vague interest in varieties and regional dishes, but had no idea about the number, the history and possibilities of the bean!

My father was Lithuanian. He made the great pots of beans . Always different. No recipe. Just a little bit of dis and a little bit of dat. I’m carrying on the tradition.


Great post. I just wanted to put emphasis on what you said about the bean gravy or what i call the bean liquor. Getting that just right is a sign of a great bean cook, it’s not easy! And yours looks great btw!


Thanks @aaqjr! I call it bean broth and pot liquor too. It looked so rich gravy kept coming to mind. Hopefully I can duplicate it. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Lookin’ good! I have to restock my hominy supply first but not getting into the posole fray.:laughing: Will post an approximation of a dish from an old truck stop that used to be on Pear Blossom Highway. Fond memories of The Pines and their no ketchup policy which pre-dated Father’s Office by years if not decades .


Was listening to Good Food podcast and Evan said she rarely soaks beans anymore. The main reasons were that it softens the beans up too much and the beans get mushy and the bean liquor loses much of its flavor. I’m getting my beans on Wednesday and making a big pot this weekend.


the old Russ Parsons method does work really well.


Depends on the beans. In my experience, garbanzos need a long soak.


Anybody know good places to get salt pork or ham hocks?

Have you tried the chick peas From Koda farms? I do soak them but my guess is i could do with out. They are very good.


I haven’t seen Koda but I’ve used Gordo, Bartolini, Zürsun, and various other fancy brands. Never been happy with the results when I didn’t soak them overnight, might as well use canned.

Surprisingly, I’ve seen salt pork at most standard sized western supermarkets (so Ralphs or Vons but not Smart & Final).

Ham hocks are a bit of a crap shoot- I’ve seen them in the same places as salt pork and I’ve seen them at Ranch 99 but it’s hard to consistently pin down where they might appear.

I should mention that salt pork is almost always in a small vacuum sealed package (I think about 12oz) around the same section as the bacon. Ham hocks I’ve mostly seen in the standard shrink wrap over styrofoam tray in the same section you might find offal like tripe.

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I was surprised she said this- I’ve been doing the recommended salt soak from America’s Test Kitchen for probably a decade (2Tbl kosher salt/gallon water/lb beans overnight soak) and I think it turns out the best creamy texture on almost any variety of bean I’ve tried.

I could definitely see it leaching flavor, though, if you’re using a higher quality bean.


Thanks will check Ralphs and Albertsons this weekend but I don’t recall seeing salt pork.

Yeah, it’s a bit tricky to find even if you know it’s there. If it helps, I’ve only ever seen Hormel brand in the bright red packaging about the size and shape of a pound of Galbani mozzarella. It’s usually on the refrigerated shelves right with the bacon and linguica and stuff, not stashed away anywhere.

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Thanks @coffeezeri! Awesome.

You read that thread? :grin: Just post it here, where the only argument is to soak or not to soak. :wink: Hominy & Beans are pretty good company.

Good read @aaqjr, although slightly confusing about what was ultimately his preferred method. :slightly_smiling_face: Was hoping for a recap, lol.

Anyway, I also don’t agree with Evan about soaking causing mushy beans @WireMonkey. Soaking depends on the bean. I think the Black Beans could’ve gone without the soak because they cook faster. Also, fresher beans like Rancho Gordo need less soaking. If you’re getting loose pintos from the bin at Ralphs you have to soak them into submission. Yes, one of the Ralphs in my ‘hood (San Vicente / La Brea) has barrels of loose beans and ham hocks @js76wisco. It’s called Signature Ralphs, meaning it caters to a neighborhood’s demographics. It’s my favorite Ralphs although that little pocket is kinda’ sketchy (hubby prefers I go to Wilshire). Everyone affectionately calls it Ghetto Ralphs. Anyway, our ‘hood is very mixed so they carry a lot of ingredients used in Asian, African-American & Hispanic cooking, and the organics are almost always on sale.

But I digress. My reason for soaking (preferably quick soak method) is to speed up cook time, since I generally cook on top of the stove really slow. If you don’t want to lose the flavor (or nutrients) cook beans in the soaking liquid as RG suggests. Especially, since the less flatulence claim has been debunked. I also agree if you eat a lot of beans you don’t have a flatulence problem.

Like the article says, everyone has their method of bean cooking that has been passed down or is just hard to break. Do what works for you.

Happy Bean Cooking!


I always avoided cooking beans in chlorinated tap water . I don’t have that problem now . My well water is super. Otherwise I would be using bottled water to cook them .