Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ranchero Beans

Ranchero Beans

Like most societies, we Americans tend to use food to mark the occasions in our lives - happy and sad.  Sometimes, the event is both.  A retirement falls under that category...sad to see that longtime friend and coworker go, but still happy to see her begin a new phase of her life.  The "her" in this case is someone with whom I've shared a lot's of life's ups and downs, laughter and tears and a whole lot of silly giggles, too.  We'll miss you, Patt...I'LL miss you!  

Here in our office, significant events are observed with lots of homemade fact, we call it a "goody" party.  Don't know how name came to be, but I'm surmising if you bring in goodies and it's a party, then....well, you get it.  We've got an unusual number of damned good cooks in this department - Tax people can do more than just crunch numbers! 
What was on the menu for Patt's retirement party?  Lisa and Darin teamed up to bring tacos and all the fixings, Mashawn and Jeannie got together to bring hot sausage and everything to go with....then there was Penne ala Vodka, two kinds of meatballs - Buffalo and Swedish, corn dip (YUM!), pepperoni dip (double yum!), artichoke dip, broccoli salad, pasta salad, Caesar salad and far too many other dishes to name.  

Ranchero Beans to go with the tacos and Key Lime Coconut Bars were my contributions.  Ranchero Beans loaded with earthy cumin, spicy jalapenos, fire roasted tomatoes and sweet onion chunks were a good complement to the tacos.

Ranchero Beans

  • 1/2 pound bacon bits, make yourself, cut crosswise into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, ribbed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large skillet over high heat and add bacon.  Fry until crispy.  Drain bacon on a paper towel.  Discard all but 1 T. of fat.
Add the onion and cumin.  Cook stirring often until onion is soft.  Add the beans, bay leaves, oregano, tomatoes, chopped jalapeno, reserved bacon, salt and pepper and cook until the flavors come together, 10-15 minutes.  

Take out bay leaves and serve sprinkled with cheese, a few pickled jalapenos, and a dollop of sour cream...or just plain.

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