I am doing a Cal-Mex barbecue for labor day and I decided to make beans to go with my tri-tip. Moro Beans are a Mexican heirloom varietal. When Jan and I went to Napa, she bought me a package of these beans from Rancho Gordo. They describe Moro beans as a cross between pinto and black beans. They say that these beans are flavorful enough to stand on their own with few additional flavors. I decided to take them at their word and keep it simple.
Karl’s Moro Beans
1 lb. Moro beans
2 strips lean bacon, cut finely
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
1. Sort and rinse the beans.
Tip: Even pre-washed beans may have small stones hidden in the mix.
2. Eight hours before dinner, put the beans in 4 cups of water in a bowl.
Tip: Use a bowl of the size that the water covers the beans by about an inch.
Note: Rancho Gordo recommends that you do not pre-soak their beans more than eight hours. Their beans are so fresh that they will sprout if you soak them too long.
3, Drain the beans, but do not discard the liquid.
Note: Much of the color and vitamins in the bean skins gets leached into the soak water. If you discard it your beans will come out grey and unappealing, as well as losing all of those nutrients.
4. Fry the bacon in a Dutch oven until the fat rendered, but the bacon is not crispy.
5. Add the onions and celery and sauté until the vegetables are soft.
Tip: Use the moisture released by the vegetables to deglaze the pot.
6. Add the beans, oregano, and pepper to the pot.
7. Measure the soak water and add enough liquid to make four cups.
Note: Some of the original four cups will have been absorbed by the beans. You may replace this liquid with a good beer, if you wish.
8. Add the liquid to the pot and bring it to a full boil.
9. Preheat your oven to 350º F.
10. Boil the beans for 15 minutes.
11. Transfer the beans to the oven and bake for 1½ to 2 hours, until the beans are tender.
Tip: Stir the beans occasionally and during the last half hour smash some against the side of the pot to thicken the liquid.
Note: If the liquid is evaporating too quickly add some boiling water. Adding cold liquid will slow down the cooking process.