I've been getting emails about these Yellow Indian Woman beans and I finally got around to trying them -- and I'm glad I did!
I've never seen them in my local stores so I bought some from Rancho Gordo:
I don't have any affiliation with Rancho Gordo, but I do buy stuff from them a couple times a year. They have a massive selection of heirloom beans and it's worth looking into if beans are in your diet.
If ordering beans online sounds annoying to you, don't let that stop you from making beans at home! You can use this authentic pot beans method with any varieties that you can buy locally. Including:
And making them at home will give you an instant upgrade compared to canned beans. For realz.
I usually start by rifling through the beans to uncover any enemy stones. This was a single pound of beans and it came out to just over 2 cups' worth.
Give 'em a good rinse and discard any floaters or shriveled beans.
Frijoles de Olla (Pot Beans) are typically just given a backburner to simmer away, i.e. no soaking required and that's what we'll do with this batch.
Cover the beans with a couple inches of cold water. 2-3 quarts usually does the job -- for this batch I used about 10 cups.
Add a roughly chopped small onion (or 1/2 of a larger onion) and 2-3 tablespoons of lard.
Yes, lard! That's the key to giving them some rich, authentic flava.
And if, like me, you're out of home-rendered lard but have been saving your bacon fat for the past week, then just use that! Even though it's technically from a different part of the animal it's close enough for these purposes.
By the way, I usually stay away from the lard on the baking shelf as it is typically hydrogenated to make it shelf safe. More info on rendering your own lard.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, partially covering.
The exact cook time will depend on the mood of the beans, but I usually start taking bites after 90 minutes or so. Here's what this batch looked like after simmering for an hour and a half:
Still plenty of the delicious broth, but the beans were still a little hard so I gave them another half hour or so.
Once they are close you can add some salt -- adding salt towards the end will allow them to absorb water more readily during the simmer.
Over the course of a few tastings, I added about 2 teaspoons of salt total and gave them another 15 minutes to simmer -- this final simmer with the salt can make a huge difference in flavor so don't skip it!
And the result?
I thought they were awesome and felt like they could be a long lost sibling of Peruano beans. They have a creamy, almost buttery consistency and that's a trademark of the lauded Peruanos.
I think they'll make a great alternative to Black and Pinto, and I'll be reaching for them over the next few days for some quick meals.
Beans will only last a few days in the fridge, but they freeze quite well, so when making a bigger batch like this I usually send a good portion up North. Two cups of dried beans will typically give you 6 cups of cooked beans.
If you're feeling motivated you can partition them into 1 cup sized baggies for storage -- or if you're feeling lazy you can just plop half of them in a larger Ziploc for the freezer:
And keep the other half in the fridge 🙂
Be sure to store them in the delicious broth as it makes it easy to whip up some awesome refried beans. Simply plop a few spoonfuls of beans and broth in a skillet over medium heat -- once warm you can easily mash them with a spatula. When properly salted these bare bones refried beans can be uber-satisfying, and when you add in onion or other flavorings they get even better.
Okay, keep in mind that you can make traditional pot beans with any beans that you can find locally -- it's a great technique to have in your arsenal and your taste buds will appreciate getting familiar with some home-cooked beans.
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Yellow Indian Woman Pot Beans
- 2 cups dried beans
- 1 small onion
- 2-3 tablespoons lard
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 2-3 quarts cold water
- Sort through the beans and discard any rocks. Rinse the beans and discard any floaters. Drain well.
- Add beans to a pot and cover with 2-3 quarts of water, or so the water level is about 2" above the beans. Add the roughly chopped onion and 2-3 tablespoons of lard.
- Bring to a boil, then 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 if you need to.
- Start tasting them after 1.5 hours. If they are hard or grainy they need a little more time.
- Once they are close add 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Salt to taste and add more if necessary -- I used a heaping 2 teaspoons total for this batch.
- Serve immediately. Store in an airtight container in the fridge where they will keep for a few days. Or you can store in the freezer where they will keep for months at a time.
You could use these beans to make a simple, delicious Bean Soup:
Our latest post is Short Ribs Carne Asada:
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I've been buying heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo for a few years. They are amazing stewards of bean culture. I have to admit, I still purchase "common beans" from the grocery store (black beans, pintos, kidneys, navy, great northern, garbanzo, etc) The specialty beans are seldom in my local stores.
Hey Donna! Yeah I'm the same and still buy black beans and pintos from my local markets 🙂
This recipe turned a sack of black beans into the best pot of beans I've ever had. I used bacon drippings rather than lard, because that is what I had. Boy howdy these are delicious!!
Hah awesome thanks for letting me know Gillie! Cheers.
Scott L. Sammons
Basic beans recipe, well presented. While in Houston TX, for a class, I introduced a co-worker and friend from Alaska to the street vendors and Frijoles de Campesinos, he couldn't get enough of them. I may have to give them a try soon. Pork rinds may be in my shopping list when. I next make it to the store. Staying away from shopping for now. Simple fare for quiet times.
Really similar to the way I've done beans for years. And completely right about the addition of lard (or bacon grease, or virtually any kind of fat) as it does amazing things to the texture and flavour. I'd done it this way for years before I had ever heard of frijoles de olla, and I think that virtually everyone who does homemade beans has a similar way to do them. I've heard "soup beans" (the way I first was taught to do this, and several other names. They keep well in my refrigerator (I do about a week's worth at a time) and have frozen them as well.
I usually use them, like you said, for frijoles refritos, but when lazy, they are good just heated up. Super cheap, super easy, I don't know why more people don't cook from scratch. You can even drop them in a slow cooker and let it do its thing, so you can start it in the morning, and come back to deliciousness when you get home from work. Great article!
Thanks much Paul!
Thanks for this recipe and procedure. Good knowledge regarding beans in general too. I have big plans for a big pot of beans tomorrow!
Thanks Charlie, yeah go for it as it's super easy to do and will provide loads of tasty (and cheap!) meals 🙂
Thanks for this! I have been eyeing these beans for a while and will finally try them.
Yeah go for it Julie, I was quite happy with them. Cheers.
brilliant! they look divine...
i have been getting these for a while - and to my absolute shock - my local grocery store actually had these - of course I got some.
Ahh lucky you Janet I wish I could say the same! Cheers.