I've gotten a few emails about these Mayocoba beans from Rancho Gordo and I finally got around to making a batch:
Overall I thought they were delish and on par with varieties I've tried in the past. Once cooked they have a mild, buttery flavor that makes them a prime choice for some epic batches of creamy refried beans.
In Mexico it's more common to see Mayocobas referred to as Peruano or Canary Beans, so if you come across a yellow bean labeled like that in your area then you're on the right track!
I don't have any affiliation with Rancho Gordo but they are wildly popular amongst bean fanatics -- they're based out of California and you can see their heirloom bean selection here. (I've also tried their Cranberry Beans and was happy with them.)
RG can be a bit spendy so if you fall in love with these beans (definitely possible!) then it's probably worth comparing them to a local option in your area.
Traditional Frijoles de Olla (Pot Beans) will bypass any soaking and just let the beans simmer on the backburner for a couple hours, so that's what we'll do with this batch.
And note that traditional versions will simmer the beans in lard. It gives them a rich, full flavor that you're probably already familiar with. I will typically use home-rendered lard to make pot beans, but right now all I have is this:
That's leftover bacon drippings that I've been storing in the fridge for the past couple weeks. I've been using it more frequently (in Tortillas and Gorditas) and it's a viable substitute for traditional lard that's rendered from back fat. And note that you can substitute oil in place of lard but your taste buds might get angry with you!
Start by rifling through 2 cups of the Mayocobas to check for any rocks or debris. (A single pound of dried beans will give you a bit over 2 cups worth.)
I usually give them a quick rinse, removing any floaters or struggling beans.
Drain the rinsed beans and add them to a pot along with 2-3 quarts of water. You'll want the water level to be about 2" above the beans. I usually eyeball it knowing that you can always add additional cups of water as they simmer.
Add 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and a roughly chopped small onion.
Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, partially covering them.
These will need around 2 hours to fully cook but they won't tell you exactly how long.
It's best to start taking bites of them after 90 minutes or so. If they are still hard and grainy then you'll know they need a bit more time in the pot. If the water level gets low and they are no longer submerged simply add some additional cups of water.
Here's how this batch looked after 90 minutes:
I added a heaping teaspoon of salt at this point and let them simmer for another 20 minutes or so. This final simmer with the salted broth makes a huge difference in flavor so don't skip it!
So why not add the salt at the beginning? Supposedly it affects how they absorb water, but this is something that I would love to test at some point.
I also added a pinch of Mexican oregano at this point but you can consider this optional.
Ideally they are still swimming in some broth when they finish cooking as the broth is delicioso and it makes it easy to control the consistency of your epic refried beans that are on the horizon.
Take a final taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Beans are hypersensitive to salt amount so don't be shy with it the first time you make these beans. I added another generous pinch so that is about 2 teaspoons total for this batch.
Cooked beans will only keep for a couple days in the fridge so I usually portion out 1-cup servings and freeze a few of them.
You can serve them as is but one of the advantages of having broth leftover is that it makes it easy to whip up a batch of refried beans.
You can simply add the beans and broth to a skillet over medium heat. Once heated you can easily smoosh them with a firm spatula. Cook until they have the consistency you prefer. To thicken them up let them cook longer. To thin them out add a splash of water.
Cooked this way they are already delicious, with a buttery consistency that makes them a great alternative to Black and Pinto.
But of course for a traditional batch of refried beans you'll want to cook them off in a tablespoon of, you guessed it, lard! Along with a bit of onion. You could use a tablespoon of bacon fat along with 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped onion and you'll have some very happy campers in your household.
And if you want to go full flavor you can always make something like these chipotle infused refried beans.
However you fry them up, it's worth keeping an eye out for these Mayocoba/Peruano/Canary beans in your neighborhood. And if you don't spot any then give the Mayocobas at Rancho Gordo a try -- it's a great way to see if your taste buds want them in your kitchen.
Mayocoba Pot Beans
- 2 cups dried Mayocoba beans
- 1 small onion
- 2-3 tablespoons bacon drippings (or lard)
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
- 2-3 quarts water
- pinch of Mexican oregano (optional)
- Sort through the beans and discard any rocks or shriveled beans. Rinse and drain well.
- Add beans to a pot and cover with 2-3 quarts of water, or so the water level is 2" above the beans. Add the roughly chopped onion and 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings (or lard).
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover. Let simmer for 1.5-2 hours. Ensure that the water level is well above the beans by adding more water as they cook if necessary.
- Start tasting them after 1 1/2 hours. If they are hard or grainy they need a little more time.
- Once cooked add 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. I also added a pinch of Mexican oregano at this point.
- Give a final taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. I added another generous pinch, so that is about 2 teaspoons total. Serve immediately.
- If you want, portion them into 1 cup sized bags along with plenty of the broth for freezing.
Our latest post is this fiery Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa.