Pinquito Beans

These tiny light-red beans are grown only in the Santa Maria Valley, as far as anyone knows. They create their own rich sauce when cooked long and slow.

  • 1 lb. pinquito (small pink) beans
  • 4 slices (about 1/4 lb.) bacon, chopped
  • 2 chopped onions (12 oz. total)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup red chile sauce or red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  1. Pick over and rinse beans. Place in a 6-quart pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover, take off heat and let sit 1 hour.
  2. Drain beans. Cover with fresh water, bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook until tender, anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes depending on the freshness of the beans. Drain, reserving beans and 1 cup cooking liquid.
  3. In a 5-quart pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon. When bacon is crisp, remove all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the pan. Add onion and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring, until onion just starts to brown. Add remaining sauces and seasonings and the pinquito beans and reserved liquid. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to blend flavors.