No.171
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Rancho Maria Beans

This Father’s Day bowls of creamy Rancho Maria Beans will bring California style BBQ home for the celebration – make ahead little gems for Dad.

On any given summer weekend, my family would pile in the car and we’d head north from Los Angeles along the coast, a simple road trip filled with the sights and abundant tastes of California cuisine. First stop Santa Barbara, for a seafood lunch and walk along the pier. Heading north we would wander off the highway into Solvang, the charming Danish enclave, to sample pastries and chocolates. Then finally supper, most often Santa Maria style steaks, procured at one of the BBQ houses that dotted the then open highways. The popular central coast cuisine steaks were served along with baskets of buttery garlic bread and bowls of delicate, pink beans, pinquitos, a creamy foil for the perfectly charred steaks.

Rancho Maria Beans, from the Bijouxs archive, is a take on my Mom’s rancho-style beans, complete with a spiced tomato glaze baked on prior to serving. Thanks to the purveyors of Rancho Gordo, heirloom beans such as the pinquitos I first sampled as a child, are now available via mail order. (We made do at home then using small white navy beans, most typically used in Boston Baked Beans).

Currently, after preparing many of the interesting selection of heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo, the thing I have discovered and really have come to appreciate about the humble bean, is their creamy texture and inherently rich, unique flavors. Most beans are best complemented with the addition of a little onion, garlic and a few spices vs. the plethora of ingredients many bean recipes request.

Prepare the Rancho Maria Beans and the glaze a day ahead, this allows the flavors to develop, not to mention making suppertime a whole lot easier. These beans are classic for a cookout or BBQ, they travel and reheat well. Serve for Dad this Father’s Day alongside a Santa Maria style steak, (like the one I featured in this month’s issue of Pasadena Magazine) or one of your BBQ favorites burgers to ribs.

COOK’S NOTES: Use small navy beans or pinto beans in place the pinquitos. Both the beans and the glaze should be made the day ahead, their flavors develop overnight. Sweet red paprika may be substituted for the smoked paprika. The tomato glaze is optional.

Rancho Maria Beans, a little taste of California for your next BBQ, and if you are in Los Angeles, pile in the car and head north along the coast for a road trip to sample the abundance of California cuisine.

As always, enjoy. B
Recipe Card
  1. sippitysup writes

    We have almost the same memories of those (indigenous) pink pinquito beans. I used to drive from Santa Barbara over 154 to get them on Sundays. GREG

    • Bijouxs writes

      Yes! and if things went well, that is if we behaved, we might spend the night and drive back the next along the inland route, picking up all kinds of fresh produce from the farm stands. We would break open the bags to sample things and would always be oranges and all sort of fruit rolling around the car floor before we pulled in the driveway back home. Fun!

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