Jenise wrote:John, Robin gave you everthing you need to know. Fabulous beans, beans of types you didn't even know existed, all GREAT. And the website is also perfectly wonderful--has detailed, tasting-note like descriptions of each bean to give you ideas of what you might do with each.
Seguing over into cookery, I've learned a couple of interesting things as I cook more and more Rancho Gordos, regardless of variety, that have changed my methods for bean cookery a little. I don't know if this would work with long-stored supermarket beans, but for Rancho Gordo, it's perfect:
* Soak them in just enough water to cover them to a depth of 1 inch. They'll swell to need it, but won't need much more.
* Cook them in the same water. It supposedly sames nutrients, seems to enhance flavor, and we haven't seen any beany side effects.
Indeed, Rancho Gordos seem unusually benign in that regard, or maybe one's system just gets used to it if you eat more beans. Add a LITTLE more water if necessary, but I'm learning that if you don't use more than just the amount you need, you get a much thicker, better natural juice ("Potlikker"?) around them.
* Bring to the boil, let it bubble for about one minute, then turn down heat to the lowest low you've got. Cook covered in a heavy pot (I use a big black-iron dutch oven) for three hours, stirring every now and then. Don't salt until they're done (it allegedly toughens the skins, although I have not actually tested this). You don't even need to cook them with onions, garlic or any other flavoring. I'm finding that Rancho Gordos go best if you cook them entirely <i>au naturel</i> and salt at the end of cooking. Then you can use them in any bean recipe, but they're so freaking <i>good</i> all by themselves that you don't really need to.
Hey, does anybody know the Rancho Gordo guy personally, even casually? I'd like to talk with him and wouldn't mind an introduction over a cold call.