As you can tell, this is part 2 of the Memorial Day Feast. Much better than store bought, canned Ranch Style Beans, not to say Ranch Style brand beans are bad because they are not. These are just better and are the perfect accompaniment to any barbecue or backyard cookout. 🙂
Have you ever had Ranch Style Beans? I was shocked when I was preparing these that Baby Lady told me she had never heard of Ranch Style Beans and never seen them at the market much less eat them. Quickstep also concurred. It’s almost Texas culinary blasphemy inasmuch as Ranch Style Beans are firmly rooted in Texas lore. You see, Ranch Style Beans traces its origins to a commissary established in 1872 in Denison, Texas, just up the road on the Oklahoma border. Great Western Foods was the company that created the brand and the Ranch Style Brand Beans product. It wasn’t until 1934, however, that Ranch Style Beans were introduced to the consuming public yet they were an immediate success. From their humble beginnings out of a commissary in Denison, Texas, Ranch Style Beans ultimately moved production of their famous beans to Fort Worth, just off Hwy 287, on the east side of Fort Worth — not too far from downtown. Production of the beans stayed at this factory for 76 years before Conagra finally closed the doors in 2010 and moved production to Ohio and Tennessee. Rather comical to buy “Real Western Flavor” Ranch Style Beans made in Tennessee and Ohio. 😮
I don’t remember when I first had Ranch Style Beans. It was definitely in the 1960s when I was a young boy. When I was a young adult in the 70s my favorite burger joint would serve ranch style beans and curly fries with their burgers. They were great. You could always spot the can from a distance while shopping. There was and is no can like it. It was a black and yellow label with bold white lettering proclaiming ranch style beans. I always liked them and they were the only beans I would eat from a can. They are a dark reddish brown color and have a nice earthiness to them with a great depth of flavor and a little brightness. They are a wonderful accompaniment to hamburgers, grilled meats, and barbecue, not to mention simple sandwiches. I would even take them on scouting camp outs.
Over the years I have played with making my own ranch style beans. I haven’t made them since Baby Lady and I got married so this was something totally new to her. They really are great and something you should try at your next cookout or barbecue. You will be glad you did.
- 1 lb pinto beans, cleaned and soaked in water overnight
- 4 New Mexico mild red chile pods, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 3 guajillo chile pods, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 2 pasilla negro chile pods, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 3 ancho chile pods, stemmed, seeded and toasted
- 1/2 medium white onion, rough chop
- 1 white onion, small dice
- 2 large jalapeños, large dice
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
- 1 can tomato sauce, 8 oz. can
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp smoked bittersweet paprika
Stem, seed and lightly toast chiles. Place chiles in a medium bowl. Bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil and pour over chiles. Set a small plate or bowl on chiles to keep submerged and soak for 30 – 45 minutes to soften.
When softened, add the chiles and liquid to the blender.
Now add 1/2 onion, oregano, garlic, 3 cups of the remaining chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, piloncillo, cider vinegar, smoked bittersweet paprika, freshly ground black pepper and blend on high. Do NOT add the salt at this time because salting the beans at this stage causes the skin on the bean to become tough.
Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to large dutch oven/pot over medium high heat. Add diced onions.
Sweat the onions until they are translucent and softened, then add the red chile sauce
Now add the drained and rinsed beans.
Now, add the jalapeños.
Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom and scorching. There is not much worse than a pot of scorched beans. The beans will be soft and tender when done. Shortly before the beans are done, add the salt, to taste. Also, if yo have been paying attention, you will have noticed that only 5 cups of the chicken stock have been used. 😮 It’s not an error. The remaining cup is to be used, as needed, should the liquid evaporate while cooking or the beans become too thick. 🙂
Serve & enjoy!
NOTES: If you notice these ranch style beans are not as dark red as the Ranch Style Beans brand. This is because of the use of the New Mexico red chile pods. I like the brightness they add to the beans. If you want the beans to be darker, use only ancho chiles (6 or 7 of them) and homemade beef stock. This will darken the color, provide a deeper flavor and take away some of the brightness. Regardless which way you cook these, you will be mighty glad you did. They are delicious!!! Baby Lady & Quickstep liked these beans a lot. 🙂