I started out making bbq pinquitos* beans, but along the way I got diverted. I added a leftover lamb bone and pan juices from a leg I roasted a while back, crushed tomatoes, thyme, chopped onion and mushrooms sauteed in bacon grease, bay and rosemary from the back yard, garlic, salt and pepper, plus water and wine. Poured hot over frozen peas it all reached the perfect temperature, flavor and texture combination for a rainy Monday evening. There's a great lamb essence in the broth, the barely cooked peas burst with fresh sweetness when you bite them, and the beans have a firm texture and mellow taste that rounds it all out.
Perhaps I'm practicing for this summer when I hope that I'll be pulling in great harvests of beans from my garden.
Next up: Christmas lima beans (no really, they are variegated red and white like Christmas wrapping paper).
*What are pinquitos?
I'm buying the occasional bag of dried beans these days from a guy at the farmer's market who drives them down along with fabulous artichokes from Lompoc. I generally don't buy the artichokes these days because they seem so expensive and I have three plants of my own on the way, but I do buy the beans! Pinquitos are most similar to pinto beans, but they are smaller with a slightly more mellow flavor. They are the hallmark bean in the bbq beans that are traditionally served with Santa Maria style bbq (a roast of tri-tip). You used to be able to buy a can from S&W in the supermarket, but I haven't seen those in years.