Santa Maria Pinquito Beans

June 23, 2018

We had some friends over for a summer dinner this past weekend. I picked up a tri-tip from Costco and cooked some Santa Maria Pinquito beans which is the traditional side dish for tri-tip. Last month I ordered some Rancho Gordo beans expressly for this purpose.

My guess is “pinquito”  translates to “little pink”. These beans certainly fit that description.

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Most of the time when I cook beans I use a similar recipe: soak the beans overnight, sauté onion in some bacon fat, add some spices – especially cumin – and then cook with a bay leaf, slightly smashed garlic cloves, and 1/2 and onion. Santa Maria beans have a much different profile; I figured in for a penny in for a dollar so I used a recipe from DadCooksDinner . I used his recipe exactly except I substituted a cup of chicken stock for an equal amount of water.

Sometimes it makes me crazy when people say they used a recipe with just a couple of adjustments: like “I substituted a rib eye steak for the portobello mushrooms, and grilled it instead of baking; it was great!” But this was substantially Mike Vrobel’s recipe.  I trust the change I made isn’t substantial.

Instead of soaking the beans as I normally would, I cooked them up after picking them over for any rocks and giving them a quick rinse. I pulled out the ingredients.

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As you can see, no cumin but we add dry mustard and tomato sauce.


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I browned the bacon, then added the onion and garlic and a bit of salt for a few minutes; then tossed in the mustard and baking soda along  with the tomato sauce, water, and chicken stock and cooked under high pressure. After cooking they had a nice rich broth like the other beans I’ve purchased from Rancho Gordo.

Um, and then I got caught up hanging out with friends and neglected to get pictures of the tri-tip or the grill prep. Oops, But I’ve cooked tri-tip before and you can read about it here.

We had a nice dinner and the beans were a hit – Jay had seconds.

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I was keeping a cooking log for the tri-tip but again I got too involved in conversation and just didn’t complete it. When I realized I had sliced up the tri-tip before taking a picture of the finished product, I knew I was off my game. Sorry.

I wasn’t a fan of these beans. I’m not saying they are bad, I’m just saying I didn’t care for them. They tasted like Boston Baked Beans without the sugar – and I refuse to put sugar in my beans. Maybe my taste buds were expecting the usual bean flavor I make; or maybe I trigger a childhood memory of having to sit at the table until I finished my baked beans. I know have that similar response to scalloped potatoes. People tell me they are delicious – I wouldn’t know; I just can’t eat them. These beans didn’t trigger that scalloped potato reaction; they were okay, just not my cup of tea.

But, don’t hesitate from cooking these beans just because I didn’t like them.


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