Monday, January 9, 2012

Anasazi Beans

If you like beans but don’t like the usual affect they have on your digestive system, this bean is for you. The Anasazi beans were new to me when I found them in December, but after trying them I am definitely going to buy more to put in my storage and we will for sure be having beans on a more regular basis. I can’t wait to try these beans in some of my favorite bean recipes.

This ancient heirloom bean has unusual red and white markings. It has a soft creamy texture, is a little sweeter than other beans, and is considered an unusually tasty baking bean.

It is said that these beans do not need to be soaked in order to cook them. I have not tried cooking without soaking but did not soak overnight. They definitely cooked much quicker than traditional beans.

My very favorite part of this bean, is that there was ABSOLUTELY NO gastric discomfort from eating these beans that is often noticeable when eating other beans. I served them for supper one night, sampling a small dish of beans several times while adjusting the recipe, eating a larger portion with my meal and eating leftovers for at least another day and a half. I could not even tell that I had eaten beans as I sometimes get indigestion and never did with these beans.

The Anasazi bean is also called the Aztec bean, Cave bean, New Mexico appaloosa and sometimes Jacob's Cattle. It is a 1,500 year old variety. The legend of this bean goes that in the 1980's a member of an archeological team from UCLA was looking for remains of Pygmy elephants that roamed the earth thousands of years ago in the area now known as New Mexico and came upon these beans. The beans were in a clay pot sealed with pine tar and were determined by radio carbon dating to be over 1,500 years old, yet some still germinated!

This attractive dark-red and white bean cooks in about 2/3 the time of an ordinary pinto bean to a creamy even pink color. It has a sweet mild full flavor and a creamy texture. It can be used in any dish but is often preferred for Chili, Mexican, or Native American dish In comparison this bean contains only 25% of the specific complex carbohydrates sometimes responsible for gastric distress associated with dry beans- so, less gas, so it is easier to digest.

I purchased these beans from the IFA store – I know; who knew you could buy beans from a farm supply store? I have since found that you can buy them from most food storage suppliers.

I’m sharing a couple of different recipes that these beans are great in. The first uses ham or bacon and the second recipe is made with ground beef. Try these recipes or experiment with some of your own favorite bean recipes. If you find that you have a favorite way to use them, please share so we can all experiment.

Anasazi Bean and Cabbage Soup
I loved the cabbage in this soup. It added texture as well as more nutrition.
2 c. Anasazi beans, sorted and washed (Soak if desired or if you are in a hurry)
1 c. diced celery
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced onions
2 c. very finely chopped cabbage
2 c. diced ham
8 c. water (add ham stock or ham juice as part of the liquid if you have it- ham hocks, heels of the ham and ham bouillon also add so much flavor)
2 T. dried parsley
1 T. garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. ketchup or tomato sauce
Vinegar for serving
In a large crock pot place all ingredients except salt, brown sugar and ketchup. Cook on low about 8 hours or on high 5 hours – depending on how hot your crock pot cooks. When beans begin to get soft, add salt – to your taste. Add sugar and ketchup and continue cooking at least 30 minutes. Serve with cider or balsamic vinegar if desired.

Western Hospitality Beans

1 ½ c. Anasazi beans
3 c. water
½ - 1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
½ c. chopped onion
½ c. chopped green pepper
1 c. reserved liquid
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
½ c. brown sugar
¼ c. ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
Suggested toppings: Shredded cheese, chopped onion, sour cream, crushed corn chips, crumbled cooked bacon or salsa
Soak beans in water for 3-4 hours. In a crock pot add beans, water, cooked ground beef, pepper and onion. Cook beans for several hours – depending on how fast or slow your crock pot cooks. When beans are tender, add tomato sauce, ketchup brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer a few more minutes.
TO Serve: Eat as is or scoop with chips and add any desired toppings to individual serving dishes.