Ranch Style Beans

First off, and before I get to the food, I have a conundrum. Apparently I’m a year late and a dollar short to jump on the domain wagon, but the domain cupcakepunk.com is taken (though not used) by a clothing designer based out of LA. I emailed her to see if, since she bought a year ago and hasn’t used it yet, she’d be willing to transfer ownership to me, but no dice. So the options are to either stay here with a WordPress domain or to redesign the image of the blog. On the one hand, I don’t mind the longer WordPress web address, but it would be nice to have an easy to use “brand”-based domain to use for freelance baking and for the blog. I’m not very “punky” anymore, so maybe a name change isn’t all that bad, but I worry about losing readership & things like that. So if you guys have any thoughts, I’d definitely love to hear them.

Now, onto the food. One of my favorite not-so-vegan food blogs is Homesick Texan, and while Lisa tends to post all things beefy (or meaty, at least), she does post some amazing easily-veganified vegetable ones. Her most recent post on Ranch Style Beans, apparently a canned chuck-style bean that doesn’t pack a lot of kick but does have a lot of flavor, caught my eye. I love beans and I’ve wanted to experiment more with dried chilies, so this recipe seemed like the perfect one to start with.

And boy, was she right. The beans, while not super spicy-hot, are extremely flavorful. The ancho chilies give a nice smoky depth while the tomatoes lend a brightness to the pot. One of the things I noticed while cooking them is that the broth doesn’t cook down as much as the baked beans I’m used to making–the beans are a perfect mid-ground between soup and chili.

My cooking time was close to four hours, but, as Lisa mentions, it can be as short as 2.5 hours, depending on how fresh your pinto beans are. And while the recipe calls for pinto, I’m sure you could use a navy or other white bean instead. I served these as-is with some tortilla chips, but they would also be delicious with warm, fresh corn tortillas, a simple serving of rice, or as any side to any southwestern or Tex-Mex meal you’re making.

Ranch Style Beans

adapted slightly from Homesick Texan

1 lb dried pinto beans
6 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 15 oz. can of tomatoes
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 c of water
6 c vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper to taste

Soak the beans covered in water—either overnight or the quick soak method in which you place the beans in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat and let sit for one hour.

Drain the soaked beans.

In a cast-iron skillet heated up to medium high, cook the anchos on each side for a couple of minutes (or until they start to bubble and pop), turn off the heat and fill the skillet with warm water. Let them sit until soft and rehydrated, which should happen after half an hour or so.

In the pot you’ll be cooking your beans, heat up a teaspoon of canola oil and cook the onions for ten minutes on medium. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Throw the cooked onions and garlic in a blender and add the tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, cumin, oregano, water and hydrated ancho chiles. Puree until smooth.

Add the pinto beans and beef broth to the pot and stir in the chile puree. On high, bring the pot to a boil and then cover; turn the heat down to low and simmer for two and a half to four hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and serve with rice, tortillas, or as a plain side.

Serves 6.

8 Responses to “Ranch Style Beans”
  1. karmalily says:

    Those beans look great.

    Good luck with the possible name change/web site. What if you went with something like cupcakepunkblog.com or thecupcakepunk.com – just modify the url and keep the name?

  2. Monica says:

    I’m also a big fan of Homesick Texan’s blog – going to have to try this recipe. I feel your pain with the domain stuff… I had to pay big bucks for monicashaw.com – but there’s a suggestion, you could use your real name for your domain? Especially if you’re going to use it for freelance work. or cupcakepunk.org? “Cupcake Punk” IS a great brand – it would be a shame to lose it.

  3. Renae says:

    Those beans are right up my alley, and I have the same bowl as you!

    I agree with the comments above about your domain name; if you want to keep the Cupcake Punk brand (which I love), cupcakepunk.net and .org are both available. I had to get .net for I Eat Food because the .com wasn’t available and I’ve gotten used to it, although I guess with the three “c”s cupcakepunk.com has a certain ring to it. But if you’re feeling Cupcake Punk isn’t really you any more, you can just put a redirect on this blog to your new site whenever you decide on a domain. If you’re going to get into doing freelance baking, I’d think pretty carefully now about how you want to brand it so you don’t go through this again later when it might actually affect your business. If that clothing designer does eventually start a site using cupcakepunk.com, that might be confusing for people searching for you…although maybe she’d end up offering you a lot of money for cupcakepunk.net!

  4. Sophie says:

    mmmm so delicious. i love getting inspiration from other blogs.

    a condundrum indeed. i guess if you post a link to your new site (if you do change the name of it) on this one then loyal readers wouldn’t have a chance to miss out!

  5. shellyfish says:

    Tough call on the domain name. Good luck with that one.
    I love spicy, so this sounds delicious!

  6. BitterSweet says:

    I had the same problem with getting a domain name- I decided to settle with bittersweetblog.net instead of .com. It’s a tough call though!

  7. mihl says:

    Wow, I think I just fell in love with those beans!

  8. Tay says:

    I was going to mention the redirect option but somebody already did. Or, you could just do the .net option. I did it for one of my sites, but have since let the site go and I am sure the .net will be gone soon because .com went as soon as it was no longer under my control. Whatever you decide, just buy the domains you can for it as a just in case option…

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