These dark purple beauties make a wonderful pot liquor. The beans have black stripes on them and are a lighter color before they are cooked. I purchased these beans from www.ranchogordo.com, the company started by Steve Sando that specializes in heirloom new world beans. According to Sando, they are also known as Hopi String Beans and while they are somewhat like pinto beans the Rio Zape beans have a deeper flavor. CLICK HERE FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE
Beans, squash and corn are the three sisters, the main agricultural crops of many Native American people. Combined with four different peppers, cumin, sage and oregano, they create a deeply flavored, satisfying dish. While looking for a great plant-based chili recipe, I was inspired by the essays and recipes in Fernando and Marlene Divina’s wonderful book, Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions (Ten Speed Press, 2004). When I first developed this recipe I was still using canned beans but I have since changed my ways and now I use those delicious Rio Zape beans from Rancho Gordo. I also added roasted sweet red peppers. I like this version better. This recipe uses masa harina, which is cornmeal processed with lime juice and it has a distinctive flavor. If masa harina is unavailable plain fine cornmeal can be substituted. This recipe looks long and complicated but it goes together easily.
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