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The Bolita Bean – A Locally Grown Favorite

Bolita Bean (similar to the Pinto), but creamier in texture and sweeter in flavor mjskitchen.com

Bolita (left) – Pinto (right)

 

The bolita bean is similar to a pinto bean. It is high in protein, but a little sweeter with a creamier texture, and, from what I’ve read, easier on the digestive system. If you’re not familiar with the bolita bean, it is a small pinkish bean similar in shape and size to the pinto (as you can see in the picture).  It’s locally grown here in New Mexico and can be found at many of the Growers’ Markets in the fall. It can also be purchased online from farms like Schwebach Farms and Sichler’s Farms.

The stories I’ve read say that bolita beans were first cultivated in Peru 10,000 years ago and brought north to New Mexico by Spanish settlers. They became an important crop of the American Indians of northern New Mexico who still grow them along with many other farmers in central and northern New Mexico.  Today, bolitas are grown throughout the Four Corners area and other parts of the southwest.  Apparently, it is a good crop for the southwest because its root system is deep, making it able to withstand dry spells and drier climates like ours.

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Breakfast Chimichanga Smothered in Red Chile

Breakfast Chimichanga filled with either egg and chorizo or egg and black beans, then smothered in NM red chile sauce | mjskitchen.com

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Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then why not embrace it, and treat yourself to a breakfast chimichanga smothered in red chile.  It’s so very hearty, high in protein, and exploding with lots and lots of flavor! When you cut into the crunchy, lightly pan fried tortilla you’ll find the ultimate breakfast ingredient – eggs – wrapped with spicy Mexican chorizo or spicy black beans, whichever you prefer.  To enjoy a multitude of goodness, use each bite to scoop up some red chile with a little bit of the toppings. Now that’s a breakfast! If this doesn’t become a standard for your household, I don’t know what will.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s really easy to make?

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Slow-Cooked Red Beans

Slow cooked pot of spicy red beans. mjskitchen.com

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When it comes to red beans, it seems that the larger kidney bean gets most of the attention.  Of course this could possibly be due to the classic red beans and rice, “an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine“.  To be honest, red beans and rice is normally our go to dish for red beans.  However, sometimes I like to cook up the small red bean.  It’s more tender than the kidney bean and has a sweeter, more delicate flavor, in my opinion.

This red bean recipe yields a flavorful bowl of tender beans that’s savory, spicy and quite versatile. As with most beans, we love to eat these as just a bowl of beans with some cornbread or tortillas and maybe a topping or two. But you could also add them to salads or soups, serve them on top of a bowl of rice, or wrap them in a tortilla and smother with red chile.  Lots of possibilities…

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Three Sisters (Squash, Corn, Beans) with Green Chile Tomatillo Salsa

Three Sisters (corn, beans, squash) with leftover chicken and tomatillo-green chile salsa | mjskitchen.com

Three sisters” is the name given to three companion crops – corn, squash and beans, grown as major crops by Native Americans for generations.  If you are a gardener, you understand what is meant by companion crops – crops that aid each other in some manner.  For the three sisters it all starts with the corn.  Corn provides a tall stalk on which bean vines grow.  In return beans produce nitrogen in the soil that feeds the corn and the squash.  Squash spreads along the ground providing a mulch as well as shade for roots and plantings.

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Black Beans, Shiitake, and Fried Polenta with Red Chile

A hearty vegetarian meal with black beans, shiitake, fried polenta and feta topped with New Mexico red chile @redchile #shiitake #blackbean #vegetarian @mjskitchen

Black beans, shiitake mushrooms, and red chile is a delightful combination of flavors that we discovered many years ago.  Through the years I’ve made black bean and shiitake enchiladas and burritos, both smothered in red chile.  Now we have a new dish, which is lighter, but hearty enough and certainly tasty enough to please your favorite carnivores and vegetarians.  This black bean, shiitake and red chile dish is served on top of fried polenta which provides a crunchy texture and an additional layer of flavor to its many layers.  Top with a little feta cheese and cilantro for even more goodness.

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One Pot Meal – Navy Beans, Green Chile, and Corn

A hearty one pot meal with navy beans, green chile, corn, tomatoes and a host of other goodness. mjskitchen.com

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It’s green chile time here in New Mexico!!!!  They have started picking chile in Hatch and other parts of southern New Mexico, and soon to be picking further north.  So to celebrate the season, I’m partnering with The Hatch Chile Store to bring you a new recipe that uses a generous amount of roasted Hatch chile.  The recipe below yields a hearty, one pot meal with navy beans, green chile, and corn, tomatoes, and a few other savory ingredients. It’s spicy comfort food.  If you already have the navy beans cooked and the green chile roasted and peeled, then it takes less than 30 minutes to bring this dish together from start to finish.

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Savory Navy Beans with a Touch of Heat

Savory Navy beans cooked with vegetables, herbs and a touch of spice. #beans #navy @mjskitchen

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When it comes to white beans, navy beans are our favorite.  In comparison to the Great Northern and Cannellini, navy beans cook faster, have a creamier texture (IMO), and work with a lot of different flavors. Navy beans are normally used in baked beans, but for this recipe, I went for a more savory navy bean with hint of heat.

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Black Bean Chili over Sweet Potato

A vegetarian Black Bean Chili served over sweet potato #chili #vegetarian #blackbean @mjskitchen

 

This black bean chili recipe is one of my pre-computer recipes that I’ve been playing around with since the early 90’s.  It’s a vegan black bean chili, but if you don’t mind a little cheese, a topping of feta is a great finishing touch.  You can serve this chili over rice (brown rice is best) or polenta, or with buttermilk cornbread or tortillas.  But our favorite way is to serve it over sweet potato.  The sweetness of the sweet potato is the perfect complement for the richness and spiciness of the chili.

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Bean and Red Mole Pizza

A simple pizza made on a flour tortilla and topped with beans and a spicy mole' sauce | mjskitchen.com

After making the New Mexico Red Chile Mole that I shared with you last week, I used it in a few new dishes before freezing the leftovers.  This Bean and Red Mole Pizza was one of those dishes.  It is a variation of a Mexican-style pizza that I usually make with red chile sauce.  The mole completely changed the flavor of the pizza making it a totally different experience and just as delicious.

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