4 (8)


Ranch-style beans

Ranch-style beans
Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Even though it was almost 20 years ago, my mouth still waters when I remember my first taste of great Santa Maria barbecue. I was meandering up the 5 Freeway on my way north. It was lunchtime, and for some ... Read more

Total time: 3 hours, 10 minutes | Serves 8
  • 1 pound dried pinquito or pinto beans (2 3/4 cups)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 onions, diced, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 pound beef stew meat, cut in pieces about the size of hazelnuts
  • 1/2 pound chopped bacon
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotle en adobo
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • Black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Step 1Put the beans in a heavy pot and add the water, one-half of the diced onion, 2 gloves of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a rapid simmer, cover and reduce the heat. Cook until the beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, checking frequently to avoid overcooking. Time will vary depending on the type of beans, their age and how low the heat is. (Recipe can be prepared to this point and refrigerated.)

Step 2Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook it, stirring only occasionally, until it browns, about 5 minutes. Add the bacon and cook it until it renders its fat and begins to brown, about 5 more minutes.

Step 3Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat, add the remaining onion and cook until it softens, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and as soon as it is fragrant stir in the chipotle. Add the tomato puree and cook until the mixture darkens and thickens to a stiff paste, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano, sage, pepper to taste, cumin seeds, vinegar and sugar and cook about 5 minutes.

Step 4Stir the meat mixture into the beans, replace the cover and cook until the beef is tender, the broth has thickened and the flavors have melded, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: The pinquito beans, which do not need to be pre-soaked, should be completely cooked before the seasonings are added because the acidity from the tomatoes and vinegar will keep them from softening. The recipe can be made in stages and it can be made several days in advance.


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