Friday, July 18, 2014

Salsa Beans with Bell Peppers and Anaheim Chilies

We're having a big family potluck barbecue this weekend and I volunteered to make a batch of beans for the barbecue. It's pretty common our area to serve Santa Maria-style barbecued beef tri-tip, pinquito chili beans, and garlic french bread at a barbecue. You just can't beat good beef tri-tip cooked slow over an oak barbecue pit. 

One of my brothers-in-law, Don, used to make a good salsa bean recipe using Sun Vista canned pinto beans, Ortega tomato salsa and Italian stewed tomatoes. He was very brand-specific. He would add browned hamburger with onions and green bell peppers. He used a special seasoning salt blend that a friend of his concocted, and we always kept a supply of "Fiscalini's seasoning" on hand and used it for everything. Its kind of like Lawry's, but with more salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

Another brother-in-law, Gary, made the traditional Santa Maria-style pinqinto beans, using the small pintos, but that was a whole other batch of beans. He used dried pinquitos to start with, and it was an all day affair.

I use to make my own version of the first kind of salsa chili beans in large quantities for all our family barbecues when my kids were growing up, but nowadays the dynamics of the family have changed and we don't have big family barbecues every weekend like we use too. The trick is, when making beans for a crowd they can't be too hot, but they need to have flavor. When I make beans these days, I can make smaller batches and experiment a lot.

I prefer making chili with black beans, because they have more fiber and I like the taste better than pinto beans. I will mix some black beans in with the pintos for this batch, mostly for color. Also, I recently acquired another local rancher's seasoning blend (Perozzi family), which is similar to Santa Maria-style seasoning, but a little heavier on the pepper and garlic. So this weekend I am going to make a batch of salsa beans, sans hamburger meat, and heavy on the onions and bell peppers, for our family picnic. I want to keep it vegetarian for the non-meat eaters in our clan. My audacious barbecue-master brother will be barbecuing enough beef and chicken to satisfy the meat lovers. He is barbecuing a whole top block, or "sirloin", for the big day, along with his specialty chicken thighs.

Anyway, I got my basic ingredients: Ranch-style pinto beans, black beans, and salsa. It's not Ortega salsa, but I couldn't find any of that. I don't have any Italian stewed tomatoes, either, so I plan to add a can of diced tomatoes and a big pinch of dried Italian seasoning. I began by dicing an onion and a bell pepper. I first tasted, then chopped up one of the other peppers that came in our SLO Veg box this week. I am not sure what kind of pepper it is, but its not a jalapeno or a serrano or a Fresno chili. I got a few of those, also, but they are not for this batch of beans. I think the ones I used are just called green chili peppers, or Anaheim chilies. Pretty mild, like the diced Ortega chilies in a can, which is what I used when I don't have fresh chilies.

I pre-fried the onions and peppers until they were soft and slightly browned to bring out a lot of flavors. Then I simply open my cans of beans, drained off some of the liquid, and pour them into the crock pot. I will add diced tomatoes, some salsa and a tablespoon of tomato paste and stir it all together and let it cook low and slow until it is time to eat. Everyone always like these beans, and it can't get much easier.

My recipe is:
1 white onion, diced
2 Anaheim green chilies, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 gallon pinto beans, UN-drained
(I used ranch-style today, because I like their sauce)
1 28-can black beans, drained
1 cup salsa
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon chili powder
1-2 teaspoons seasoning blend (I used Perozzi's private blend. You can use Lawry's  or Santa Maria-style seasoning)

Empty crock? Does that mean they liked it???

No comments:

Post a Comment