Sunday, May 22, 2011

Look into my eyes, my Yellow Eyes

I continue to be totally and completely impressed by Rancho Gordo beans. I don't know why, I really shouldn't be floored, they came highly recommended by someone who is very particular about her food. Anywho, I had these gorgeous Yellow Eye beans in my pantry practically begging to get used. We had just gotten home from vacation and I hadn't been in the kitchen for over a week so it was high time I started cooking again.

Yellow Eyes are a deliciously lovely bean. They have a creamy feel in your mouth, but with a texture that isn't mushy. The hold their shape well in cooking and they taste absolutely lovely.

Like any other dried bean, I started out by soaking these lovelies for about five hours. But, make no mistake, these are not any other beans. They are full of goodness.

Once the beans have been rinsed and soaked they are ready to cook. I had some pancetta so I gave it a rough chop and tossed it into my french oven along with a couple of tablespoons of this lovely olive oil that   I received in my seasonal club shipment from Global Gardens in Los Olivos, CA. I cooked the pancetta until it was nice and crispy, but be cautious not to let it go too far and burn. It's thin so it can go from crisp and beautiful to charred very quickly.

Once the pancetta was crispy I removed it from the pot and laid it on a paper towel to soak up any excess  oil. Then, into the pot of pancetta drippings, I tossed in my faux mirepiox. Ok so I just like the sound of that, really. I didn't have any celery and I used leeks instead of onions. Not that I would have rather had onions, I loved the gorgeous leek that I had received in my Harvest2U CSA box. OK, so cook your carrots and leeks in the pancetta drippings until they are softened.

Once your vegetables are softened you can season them with a little salt and pepper. I also added some of the Caliterranean Garden Blend of spices from Global Gardens and the sliced baby bellas. The aroma, at this point is amazing!

OK, now you can add those bathing beauties into your pot along with the liquid they've been soaking in. You'll want to make sure the beans are covered by about 1/2" or so of water, but not too much unless you want bean soup. If you do, that's OK too. Bring the beans up to a boil for about 5 minutes and then turn the heat all the way down. As low as you can get it and still barely see a bubble every now and again. Barely a bubble is how I refer to it, I wouldn't even consider this a simmer.

Cover your beans and cook them, checking and stirring them about every 20 minutes for doneness. When they start to smell like beans they are just about there, keep your eye on them.

I used a bit too much liquid in the pot so mine came out more like a soup, but they were still phenomenal. I ladled it into a bowl, topped it with a bit of the crisp pancetta and then shaved a tiny bit of parmesan cheese on top.

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