Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ranch style beans recipe

ranch style beans

Fifteen years ago, I was on my way to the Austin airport to catch a flight to New York City when the friend I’d be staying with called and said that we’d be attending a dance performance that evening in the East Village. Admission was free, she said, but the organizers requested a donation of two canned goods for a food pantry. So before walking out the door, I grabbed a couple of Ranch Style Beans as my offering.

Ranch Style Beans are a Texan staple and they’ve been satisfying people since 1872 with their take on classic chuck-wagon fare. It’s a distinctive flavor—the beans aren’t fiery but they do have a depth and brightness that can be very addictive. When I lived in Texas, we ate them often—either topped with cheese and rice, as a base to bean salad, alongside enchiladas or even in my mom’s King Ranch casserole.

ranch style beans

But beyond the deliciousness and versatility of Ranch Style Beans, there’s the appeal of that iconic black can with its distinctive Western-style font and illustration of a man with his tongue sticking out stating the beans are Appetite Pleasin’. (Of course, the latter is a recent development for if you’re as old as I am, you remember when the beans were Husband Pleasin’.) I love that can and I’ve read that if Andy Warhol had been a Texan he would have painted Ranch Style Beans cans instead of Campbell’s Soup cans. I believe it.

In the 15 years since I’ve moved to New York City, I’ve seen this city become more hospitable to fellow homesick Texans. We now have a Texan-style barbecue joint selling Kreuz sausages and excellent brisket; you can find Ro-Tel tomatoes at several grocery stores; dried and canned chiles are a common staple; and Austin-based Whole Foods is now here selling decent brands of tortillas, chips and salsas. But despite the advances this city’s made, there’s still one thing missing: my beloved Ranch Style Beans.

To help with the drought, every time I go home I load up on a few cans. And my mom has even been known to put them in my Christmas stocking, which is always a very welcome gift. But when I recently came to my last can with no trip home in my immediate future, I realized that I should just figure out how to make these beans on my own.

The recipe is a closely guarded secret, so I was flummoxed on what to do. And then I read one fan’s observation that Ranch Style Beans are simply pintos swimming in a chili gravy. At last, it all made sense! I decided I’d cook a pot of pintos in a chili gravy and see what happened. When making my chile gravy, I used the ingredient list on the back of my remaining can as my guide. Sure, there were some vague terms, such as “spices” and “natural flavor,” but the basic building blocks were in the open: tomatoes, chile peppers, paprika, vinager and beef fat. And of course, pinto beans.

ranch style beans

Even though the can didn’t specify what type of chile, I went with anchos as they’re the base of your common chili powder. I rehydrated the anchos and then blended them with some tomatoes, vinegar, cumin and paprika. And instead of beef fat, I opted to use beef broth instead.

While the beans cooked, the house smelled gorgeous and the broth tasted right. But it wasn’t until after a few hours when I ladled out a bowl that I realized that this bowl of beans far exceeded my expectations. I threw in some sour cream, warmed up a flour tortilla and had a most satisfying meal. And even though it’s been 15 years since I gave away those beans, I’ve often wondered if the New Yorker who ended up with them enjoyed them. I hope that they did.

Ranch style beans
Ingredients:
16 oz. of dried pinto beans
6 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 15 oz. can of tomatoes (or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup of water
6 cups of beef broth
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
Soak the beans covered in water—either overnight or the quick soak method in which you place the beans in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat and let sit for one hour.

Drain the soaked beans.

In a cast-iron skillet heated up to medium high, cook the anchos on each side for a couple of minutes (or until they start to bubble and pop), turn off the heat and fill the skillet with warm water. Let them sit until soft and rehydrated, which should happen after half an hour or so.

In the pot you’ll be cooking your beans, heat up a teaspoon of canola oil and cook the onions for ten minutes on medium. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Throw the cooked onions and garlic in a blender and add the tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, cumin, oregano, water and hydrated ancho chiles. Puree until smooth.

Add the pinto beans and beef broth to the pot and stir in the chile puree. On high, bring the pot to a boil and then cover; turn the heat down to low and simmer for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally. At this point, I check my beans for tenderness as depending on the freshness of the beans I find that the cooking time can be as short as two and a half hours and as long as four hours. When you're satisfied that the beans are done, salt and pepper to taste.

Feeds four to six.

Notes: If you can’t find dried ancho chiles, you can substitute either ancho chile powder or regular chili powder. I’d use 1/4 of a cup. These are not fiery beans, but if you want a bit more heat I'd throw in a bit of Cayenne. And I always add a pinch of baking soda to my soaking beans to help with digestion issues. You may do the same.

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145 comments:

Kelly @ EvilShenanigans said...

I always forget how lucky I am to have those beans around. I grew up with them, too, and they were always the bean of choice when dad smoked a brisket on his HUGE custom smoker. Don't tell the can, but your recipe looks better... :)

kitchentrials said...

Lisa - I too love Ranch Style Beans and count my lucky stars that my company makes 'em. Which means I can buy 'em at the company store even though Nebraska stores are inconsistent about stocking 'em.

Hmm... Now that I'm thinking abou it... I'm gonna have to see what I can do to send you a can or three. What's the point of having a company store if I can't do something like that, right? =)

Amber said...

Oh holy goodness, I love Ranch Style Beans. I haven't thought about them in ages. We always added them to Owen's Chili (which is made in San Antonio and sold in breakfast sausage-like tubes) for hot dogs. Sometimes when we were lazy, they were put directly on the hot dogs without the chili. They are delicious as delicious can be. Thanks so much for figuring out how to do this! I will be making them. Maybe for our annual barbecue this summer, along with Rudy's Creamed Corn.

eonyc said...

We ate these when my family was in OK and TX and we Yankees LOVED them! I will have to stack up when I had back to TX later this month!! And I am going to try your recipe, too. I have a bag of pinto beans just sitting in my pantry, waiting for me to get inspired!

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

The art direction on that label is pretty wowing - though I wish it still said 'husband pleasing'... This looks so, so good. Funny thing is I didn't like these growing up but am making up for lost time now. It's ALMOST bbq weather - and your version will have to make an appearance on the table!

Chef Gwen said...

I have to try your recipe.

Those beans were a staple in our West Texas household. In fact, they were still in my Mom's cupboard up until the day she died.

I bet your version has a bit more kick to it than the original.

Love your writing. Makes me homesick, too.

Phoo-D said...

I love that you recreated them at home! I've never tasted the original but the ingredients sound like a wonderful combination of flavors.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kelly--Oh, yeah. They're great with smoked meat!

Kitchentrials--You are lucky!

EONYC--I always stock up when I'm home.

Amber--I think they're wonderful on hot dogs.

Miss Meat and Potatoes--Pretty fabulous isn't it? I also wish it still said Husband Pleasin'--and I definitely want the label on a T-Shirt.

Chef Gwen--This batch isn't that fiery, unless you're the type that finds anchos hot, which I doubt you are. But you can sprinkle in some Cayenne to give it more heat.

Akila said...

Wow, these look delicious. We just got back from traveling for two months in Southeast Asia and have been mixing Tex-Mex so much. I will definitely need to try these, soon. I wonder how they will taste if I sub in vegetable or mushroom broth instead of the beef.

Tommy said...

These look fabulous. Never heard of Ranch Style beans before but I know you guys in the USA do beans on a grand scale.
Perhaps KitchenTrials can send me a can or 3 to test and introduce to CDNs ?

KitchenVixen said...

I went to college in Texas, and boy howdy wasn't it a difference from WI?! Bought a bag of dried pinto beans with just this in mind a few weeks ago, but they've lingered in pantry, recipe-less. Can't wait to try this.

Barbara said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you! I, too, always stock up when I travel to Texas and have even had them sent from a website that specializes in regional foods (alas it no longer exists). I haven't had some in quite awhile...the recipe looks great, but then I wouldn't expect anything less from you! Did you see the NYT article about Austin breakfast tacos today?

Janus said...

How much of a problem do you have taking the cans of beans on the plane with you these days?

I know I have seen Ranch Style Beans on sale here in Louisville. I may have to go by Kroger later and buy a can.

Gabriela said...

Ranch Style Beans! That's one of my childhood favorites served atop my mom's not so Mexican "Taco Salad" and dressed with Catalina dressing! Do you have a recipe for it? Is this kind of taco salad popular in TX or was this just a houswife recipe of the late 80s?

LarkspurKC said...

Thanks for the memory of home. I can always find these in my mom's pantry back in the Panhandle. And I actually have a favorite Ranch Style Bean story from childhood. My mom opened a can once that was all juice -- no beans. That was the most hillarious thing to my 7 year old self. A quick trip to the town store solved the problem. They gave her a new can, no questions asked.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Akila--I bet either one would be good because they both have enough unami to give the dish depth.

Tommy--Do Canadians not eat beans as much as we do?

KitchenVixen--I had the opposite experience as I moved to Iowa after college and was felt like I was in another country!

Barbara--I think you can order them from Amazon as well. And I loved that article--made me hungry!

Janus--I haven't tried taking them in a carry-on bag, but I'd think since they're in a sealed can it should be fine. Though I could be wrong!

Gabriela--My mom definitely made taco salad, which I've been meaning to write about. Though hers sounds like it might be a bit different as she didn't top it with Catalina.

lisa said...

The thought of a plate of just cooked beans with sour cream and a warm tortilla is making me very hungry right now!

Heather B said...

Ranch style beans are a family favorite. Growing up in the panhandle, I think just about every meal at my Memaw's had a can of ranch style beans with dinner. Actually, I'm pretty sure she still does that today. There is just something about them that is so good! I may not have them as often as I used now that I'm on my own in Dallas but they sure bring back memories.

Will definitely give this recipe a try!

MaryD said...

I grew up cooking Ranch Style Beans at the lake over a wood fire to eat with hamburgers. We always added grated cheddar cheese to them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this recipe; can't wait to try it out!
Here in uncivilized "taxation-without-ranch-style-beans-or-breakfast-tacos" D.C. I have to rely on the kindness of friends who occasionally manage to smuggle me a can or two...

Also, this blog is great!

pakurilecz said...

using the Conagra search form I found the following stores in or near NYC that sell Ranch Style beans
Target Store
100 14th St
Jersey City, NJ 07307
(201) 499-0017

Target Store
7101 Tonnelle Ave
North Bergen, NJ 07047
(201) 520-1701

Target Store
543 River Rd
Edgewater, NJ 07020
(201) 402-0252

Target Store
139 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 623-6796
http://www.conagrafoods.com/consumer/brands/getBrand.do?page=ranch_style

Farmer Jen said...

I know that familiar black can of beans. Great recipe! I will try these soon.

HZ in DF said...

My family also had them in a layered taco salad: iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, Husband Pleasin' Ranch Style Beans, French dressing and fritos (the big ones) x 2 or 3 depending how tall the bowl is. My mom had a terrific vaguely martini-glass-shaped bowl that was the standard vessel for this salad.

Can't wait to try your recipe since Mexico City has every other kind of bean except these and blackeyed peas.

CP said...

Sounds fantastic! Can't wait to try this one. Ranch style beans aren't a regular item in my neck of the woods but I have had them before and they were great.

heather @ chiknpastry said...

i've definitely never tried ranch style beans, but i can imagine your sadness about running out of them - i feel the same way about various southern items, even things like bojangles' biscuits. but something about learning to make something similar, and sometimes better, is so rewarding!

Stephanie Manley said...

I am so going to try this recipe very soon. I love Ranch Style Beans, but I can only imagine they are much better made like this. I am not a real fan of the beans a la charra, but these, beans in a creamy chili sauce, yes, these with some fresh hot torillas, cry out to be made.

PM Summer said...

Timely recipe, Lisa. Conagra has announced the closure of the Ranch Style Beans plant in Fort Worth, moving production to the Midwest.

I expect a decline in flavor with that move (see Pace Picante Sauce), so this recipe goes into the 'Husband Pleasin'" file of my cookbook.

Jack McNally said...

My Lord, thank you thank you thank you. I'm a fourth generation texan and I grew up on Ranch Style Beans. Lord, I used to pass the factory EVERY day on my way to high school (how's that for RSB street cred?)! A human being can get all the nutrition they need from RSB, rice, and tortillas, all at the whopping price of about 85 cents. BUt now I live in Taipei, Taiwan, where kidney beans don't exist and where the idea of adding garlic to red beans or black beans grosses people out. (They're a desert food here.) So, thank you very much for this recipe. I'll be trying a texas recipe with taiwanese ingredients soon...

Latter-Day Flapper said...

Oh, man--I love Ranch Beans. I just mix them with rice, and sometimes I add an egg over-easy for breakfast, so I can stir the yolk into the beans and rice.

Well, sometimes I add chopped tomato and cheese, but even if all I have is rice and Ranch Style Beans, they're fine by themselves.

Gail said...

In 1974 my dad's job sent us to Jakarta, Indonesia. I was 17 then. We were allowed to take a case of any food we wanted, as back then you couldn't buy anything American over there. My choice was a case of Ranch Style Beans! I loved those beans then and I still love them today!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

The only thing saving me from going home and making some of these RIGHT NOW is that I'm (gasp!) out of ancho chiles at the moment. Gotta stop by Fiesta and stock up. This sounds soooo good. Love the idea of a tortilla and sour cream. Also could be really good with some cornbread...yum!

jeff said...

no fat?i'll do it but with fingers crossed!also,the ranch-style beans i could find were hecho en mexico,so hj in df i bet they are there somewhere!

Shelly said...

Awww, you've made me miss my Grandpa. He always called them "Cowboy Beans" and that's how they're known in our family. He's been gone 13 years now and I always think of him when we fix cowboy beans.

I didn't realize they were specific to the brand "Ranch Style Beans" and I'm kind of taken aback that they're not readily available everywhere in the US. Never heard of Ranch Style Beans? The horror!!

If I'm ever in a part of the country where I can't crank open a can, I'll be sure to try this recipe. You make it sound like a fancy delicacy instead of our regular ol' cowboy beans.

Melanie said...

This post made me giggle remembering when I first moved to NY and was so upset that I couldn't ever find Ranch Style Beans! I complained to my mom and now every 6 months or so I receive a package in the mail with lots of cans! i still have a few in my pantry. thanks for the updated version! can't wait to try it!

Jan said...

Thank you thank you THANK YOU!!! You are now officially my hero. I moved from DFW to northeast Ohio in 2005 and the first thing I noticed was the absence of Ranch Style Beans on the grocery store shelf. Since they are a vital part of my taco salad recipe, I panicked and have had everyone who has come to visit me from home bring me cans.

I am BEYOND thrilled to have this recipe and am going to make it, well, now.

Cookie said...

I grew up eating these beans and they are still my favorite canned beans. I cook my own pinto beans and never eat them out of a can, but THESE beans are great from a can. I live in Arizona now and can get them anytime I want them. (Thank Goodness!) Over the years I have taught my California born and raised husband how to eat like a Texan. He LOVES Texas food.....He's still not sure about the Chocolate Gravy though....

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Lisa--Isn't that the best combination?

Heather B.--Sounds like my family!

Anon--Those are indeed good friends!

MaryD--Oh, now that's the way to cook them! And they're perfect with burgers.

Pakurilecz--Thank you for this list! I'll check out the Brooklyn Target this weekend.

Farmer Jen--For me, it's like seeing an old friend!

HZ in DF--There's a lively discussion about this salad happening on my Facebook page. I had no idea so many people grew up eating this. We had it at least once a week in my house. And your mom's bowl sounds fabulous!

CP--They are indeed great--hope you like them.

Heather--It is indeed rewarding. And I don't think it matters where you're from--if you move away your bound to miss something.

Stephanie--Yep, these beans were made for fresh, hot tortillas!

PM Summer--I heard that and that makes me so sad. I wonder they are going to do with the sign?

Jack--Beans, rice and tortillas is a perfect meal! And please let me know how they turn out with Taiwanese ingredients, I'll be curious!

Latter-Day Flapper--I love the thought of a mixing a runny egg yolk with the beans. So creamy and rich! And they are indeed fine by themselves, heck, I believe I've even eaten them straight from the can.

Gail--Now that's true devotion!

Tasty Eats at Home--Yes, they would be excellent with cornbread! Hope you enjoy them!

Jeff--Well, there's a bit of oil when you sautee the onion and garlic. But I found that the were creamy and smooth without added fat. That and I couldn't find any rendered beef fat.

Shelly--I love that they remind you of your grandpa. And just between you and me, but I think that cowboy beans are a delicacy!

Melanie--So happy to hear I'm not alone in my surprise that they can't be found. But did you see the comment up above? Apparently the Target in Brooklyn stocks them. We shall see!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jan--You're very welcome! And I think we should start a campaign to get Ranch Style Beans on grocery shelves nationwide!

Cookie--They're my favorite canned beans, too. They have so much flavor!

Anonymous said...

I moved to Oregon 3 years ago and was very pleased to find several stores carry RSB's. The best is when i made home made stewed beef chili (different from Texas chili con carne)and i used RSB's. My boyfriend (never having RSB's) pronounced my chili as "THE BOMB".
Almost homemade will do in my house but i can't wait to try this version.

TEXMEX

Bria @ West of Persia said...

Wow, I got such happy memories just reading your post. Love the recipe--it's brilliant. The iconic can is so special--I want a t-shirt with that logo on it. And "Husband Pleasin'" as the slogan would be extra cute ;-)

As for the air travel thing--be careful, guys. I recently tried to take a jar of almond butter in my bag, and got turned back. I ended up paying $20 to check a bag with a $5 jar of almond butter. I know, it sounds so silly, right? But I'm stubborn like that--now way was I letting my almond butter (completely sealed and unopened, btw) into the clutches of airport security.

Mom said...

I thought I was the only one that stuffed my suitcase full of Ranch Style Beans after a visit home to Texas. Glad to know I'm not alone.

Marissa said...

I can't wait to try this recipe, paired with your wonderful tortilla recipe. We can probably get Ranch Style Beans here in the Pac NW, but even when I was a Texan I was adamently apposed to eating beans from a can.....despite my love for RSB. :)

I've been reading your blog for months now and I just wanted to say THANK YOU for single-handedly restoring my love for cooking! I've had a great time recreating these recipes, and my husband has been in heaven eating them. It's made us long for a move back to Texas....just for the food.

Anonymous said...

Was SOOOOO excited to see RSBs on the shelf at Krogers one day - and on SALE!!

For everyone who has a chain grocery nearby, check to see if they will order them for you. Several of our stores will do that as long as it is a product in the national inventory. Of course, you'd probably have to take the entire case!

Meanwhile, I had been pondering trying to figure out how to make them to can at home. Now here is the recipe! Will simply not completely cook the beans, then put them into clean pint jars and process in the pressure canner. (Will have to calculate the pressure and time.) We will be able to enjoy our own, home canned RSBs!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Pete in WV

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

TexMex--Good to know you can find them in Oregon! And it sounds like your boyfriend had good taste!

Bria--I want that T-Shirt, too! And thanks for the air travel tips.

Mom--Nope, you're definitely not alone.

Marissa--These beans are wonderful with tortillas! And I know what you mean about moving back just for the food.

Pete--I don't think it buying a case of Ranch Style Beans would be that much of a burden! And good luck with the pressure canning.

Texan in UAE said...

*drooling* I haven't had these in over ten years... I love them. I wish they had them here in UAE! I'm the homesick texan! i love your blog.

happyfeet said...

the ranch style beans I enjoy to be eating with the sour cream and also the cilantro and a little sriracha ... you can get them at Ralph's here in California...

do you know what I miss from Texas? I will tell you. Campbell's Cream of Chile Poblano soup. I used to could get it at the HEB. You can't get it here and I don't know if they even have it at the HEB anymores cause I looked in Austin about a year ago and no luck.

It is very tasty soup I think.

Wes aka Westex BBQ said...

Best beans ever. I keep lobbying the grocery stores out here on LI to try and score a case or two. Not sure if you got that pic I sent of my last stash of beans and Shiner that I had sent up from Texas. Hope they start showing up locally soon.
Meanwhile, gotta try the recipe, thanks Lisa.

happyfeet said...

also I miss Earl Campbell Sausage ... and Baby Acapulco margaritas...

Now I am homesick Texan too.

Michelle said...

Those beans have been a staple in our house forever. But I bet your recipe is even better. We make barbecue beans using Ranch Style Beans along with some Oklahoma "Head Country" BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and jalapenos. Very good. Can't wait to try your recipe.

Liz said...

Yum! My brother actually did use the iconic Ranch Style Beans can as his own Warhol-esque art project.

Morgan G said...

Oh, heavens. I just discovered your blog this very minute. I'm in trouble now...

Brenda said...

lol...I think there was some kind of subliminal message here because I found myself buying RSBs today to go with our brats tonight =)

Gabriela--my grandmother used to make a salad we called Cowboy salad. Iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, Ranch Style Beans (drained), Catalina dressing, and Frito's. One of my favorites!

Suzanne said...

I've never had them before but I'll take a look to see if my grocery store has them!

Lea Ann said...

Great post! You know, I've seen those beans all of my life and don't think I've ever bought them. I'll have to throw a couple of cans in the shopping cart next time. And you know I'll be trying that recipe. It looks so good next to that tortilla.

physicschick said...

I ate a lot of these growing up in Texas. I'm still here, and I can get them at the store but your recipe looks awesome! I'll definitely try them soon. Beans are their own food group here in Texas! Thanks for all of your awesome recipes!

http://ifyouloveitfeedit.com

Screwed Up Texan said...

Ranch Style Beans are my favorite beans! I can't live without them and when we finally moved back to Texas (my husband is a westerner), I jumped with joy when I saw Ranch Style Beans in the grocery store.

Even though the tag on the can is "Real Western Flavor", I have never seen these babies out west.

JorgeGirl said...

My Aunt Mary. who was known for adjusting recipes in the local church cookbooks,used to pack Ranch Style beans in her suitcase to serve when she catered on her daughters sailboat out of Battery City in the 80's. I hear some very famous people got exposed to our beans that way.

prettypants said...

Love that you have a facebook page now--

And also, did you know you're nominated for Best Regional Cuisine Blog over at Saveur's Best Blog Awards?

Just wanted to put it out there so other fans and friends can head over and vote for you! http://www.saveur.com/contest_bow.jsp?ID=1000011135&main=yes

Janus said...

I did pick up a couple of cans after posting my comment. They won't be the last ones I buy.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

happyfeet--That's great you can get them in California!

Wes--Aren't they the best?

Michelle--I need to try this Oklahoma "Head Country" sauce as the Houston Press just ranked it as its favorite BBQ sauce.

Morgan--Welcome!

Brenda--They're wonderful with brats! And apparently everyone grew up with that salad!

Suzanne--Good luck!

Lea Ann--They're wonderful with tortillas!

Physicschick--They are their own food group!

Screwed Up Texan--They're from Fort Worth, which is where the West begins, so maybe that's why they have real Western flavor.

JorgeGirl--Oh the stories I bet she could tell!

Prettypants--I did know that I was nominated--quite an honor! Thank you!

Janus--Glad you like them!

lori said...

just recently discovered your blog and love it!
i live in austin but was up in fort worth over the weekend and happened to drive by the ranch style factory and we commented that they're the only beans we could think of that are in a song! do you know the old 97's-great texas band. they sing about "ranch style beans in a tin can hobo styyyyyle".
anyway, just a useless bit of trivia. enjoyed your post
and can't wait to try to recipe. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Robin in PA

We used to get RSB when I was a kid living in southern OK - it was served at one of our favorite bbq shacks - with brisket, chopped bbq, fried okra, coleslaw and homemade cobbler for dessert. What I wouldn't give...
By the way have you heard of Stilwell Cobbler? Comes from Stilwell, OK - this is a cobbler with piecrust on bottom and top - as I recall there are strips of pie dough layered in with fruit. Can't find a recipe - Are you familiar with this type of cobbler? Love your website - makes me homesick.

Fran said...

Thanks so much for this recipe! Introducing me to ranch style beans was one of the best things that my ex-mother-in-law ever did for me. I was in despair when we moved from Texas to the East coast. I used to bring back a case of the beans whenever we made a trip to Texas. Then lo and behold, our local Walmart started carrying them and saved the day, especially now that I no longer make trips to Texas!

deceiverofmen said...

There is a whole foods brand canned bean that tastes similar to these. I accidentally found it a couple of years ago. I work there and i can't remember the name lol. I think they are ranchero beans or something. Will update this later! It was nice to find an all natural, beef fat-less, alternative that was available in NYC.

I could swear there used to be a black eyed pea version of these and those said cowboy beans on the can, but i can't find any references on google to support it.

deceiverofmen said...

so i'm not crazy: http://www.iasusa.com/newsite/conagrafoodservice.html

We used to have the black eyed pea version in our pantry, a can with jalapenos and a can without. They were called Cowboy Beans at one point,I know I remember asking my dad what that meant. :)

This is probably why everyone know ranch style as cowboy beans.

Conagra no longer has ranch style black eyed peas on its website, this makes me sad!

Texas Gramma said...

Many years before microwaves became popular, I was faced with hungry hubby and children after work and only had a square pound of frozen hamburge. Got creative, browned the hamburger with a little salt, pepper and added 2 cans ranch style beans. Served with tortilla chips and a side dish of chopped onion, it's still a family favorite. Love your blog even if I'm still lucky enough to live in Texas... Thanks, Texas Gramma

Julie said...

The recipe sounds super...I've always loved the kind in the can, but homemade sounds even better :)

Sarah said...

Oh my. I just found your website and am hooked big time. I was born in Texas but don't have any memories of the place since I grew up in Pennsylvania. There's always been this nagging inside of me where I crave food like this though. Add to that the fact that I've been in New Zealand - bland food capital of the world - for 8 months now and your recipes are making me salivate! I can't wait to have a go at some of them!

Margie said...

This recipe is so good! My husband loved them and he does not care much for beans. Question: How do I identify fresh pintos? I think the bagged beans are old as they take so long to cook and some of them never become soft after hours of cooking. I soaked them overnight. Do you think the bulk pintos would be a better bet?

Rubyfruit Radio said...

I always called them MMMM beans and would stick my tongue out when I was a kid.
I'm going to have to try these soon.

AngAk said...

Check your Walmarts---even in the North and East. They usually carry the Ranch beans, even the non-Super Walmarts.

Charisse said...

I looooove Ranch Style Beans. Please don't tell me they won't be available in Ithaca, NY. That will make me VERY sad.

Big R said...

Hi!
Living in Malaysia finding anything that is remotely Texan/Mexican/American i difficult but I found Ranch style beans and now they're great reminder of home...I had an egg, potato and bean burrito for breakfast burrito for breakfast today!

Just Ryan said...

Ranch Style Beans!! Yummy!! I grew up eating these either for breakfast, or a BBq, always reminds me of home....

Joan said...

Your recipes always make me smile. You seem to be able to tap into the best part of the first 18 years of my life as a Texan.

Can't wait to get into the kitchen to make these beans!

mytwocentsworth said...

I discovered Ranch Style Beans when I lived in Dallas in the 60's....... luckily I live in an area where they can still be found in the grocery store. Definitely a unique taste and just the right spiciness and tang for my taste. Love them with hot dogs, which I still have to have now and then.

Heather Trabucco said...

Homesick Texan - I love any recipe for beans...it's a cheap way to make a filling healthy dinner, without actually missing that their isn't any meat involved! I will be making this for dinner this week as I have a bag of pintos in my pantry! I'm wondering if these would do good in a slow cooker, after doing the first portion of the recipe? Nothing would be better than coming home to that smell and digging in after they cooked for 8hrs...mmm...mmm...good.

Anonymous said...

i was born in texas but now live in iowa, our local hy-vee used to stock ranch style beans but no longer does....so...i have found bush's grilling beans texas ranchero to be a decent sub for the original...also if you dice up some jalepeno's and add a lil sour cream u will love the results!!!

Kelly Fisher said...

My favorite use for Ranch Style Beans is in Catalina Salad. Basically, it's lettuce, tomato, green onion, Ranch Style Beans (rinsed), Fritos, grated cheese (not pre-grated) and Catalina salad dressing. My hubby and son LOVE this salad.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember which episode, but there was once a scene in Seinfeld where Jerry and George are in a little store in NYC and there are cans of Ranch Style Beans on the shelf. Since I've always had trouble finding them outside of Texas, that really surprised me.

Audrey said...

I tried these the other day with pinto beans, but pinto beans in London are strange. I cooked them for hours and they never got soft. I tried them again today with kidney beans, and they were fantastic!

Elizabeth said...

I also grew up in Houston and I remember the Husband Pleasin' cans. We now live in Washington (state) and are pleased that they are available. We miss Tex Mex food terribly. Have you run across a good recipe for carne guisada? We had a dish in Arizona that was very similar called green chili beef. We used to eat at this little joint in Clear Lake called Dos Mas with the best carne guisada. So good. And the best burnt milk brown candy stuff (can't remember what it's called). I enjoy your blog and I just subscribed. I think.

misstexas said...

Oh thank you! Oh thank you! As a Texan currently living in Rome, Italy, I pretty much miss all things Texan...and Ranch Style beans are certainly one of them! I can't wait to try the recipe and hope I can find all the ingredients in the land of pasta!

funkopolis said...

I grew up eating these and still eat them today. You will never find my pantry void of Ranch Style Beans, and when I can find them, the ones with the jalapenos are even better.

Deb said...

They look fantastic! I have some ancho chilis in the cupboard. I am new to cooking with whole chilis (dried or otherwise). But I reckon I can manage this one.

Sarah said...

Hallelujah! As an American in London I am _very_ excited to try this recipe since there is no way to get it here. This was a staple in our cupboard as I was growing up in Utah as well. No chili I ever make tastes quite right without it.

Heather said...

Actually, your first way from "pinto beans three ways" is turning out a lot like the Ranch Style beans with jalapeno peppers. I may finally be saved from a drought of my favorite pinto beans!

Cara H said...

Oh honey I feel your pain! We lived in NY for 5 years. We're home now. But RS Beans (and pimento cheese) were things I couldn't live without. So I contacted ConAgra. Guess what? RS beans are made in New Jersey. I know, I know. But that was a life saver. We used to schlep to Jersey occasionally and they'd sell them to us by the case. They thought we were insane but we got our beans. BTW, we still by them by the case lol.

Steve M said...

First off, Ranch Style Beans are made in Ft. Worth, Texas, right off 287 where it branches off southward from I-30. I used to drive by the factory every single night for years and smell the delicious smell through coming in through the open windows. (Whoever said they're made in Jersey is a damn fool).
But anyways, to the point, I am from Ft. Worth, and I just moved to New York City three weeks ago. I'm trying to get settled in, and came across this site after I realized I couldn't get my beans round here. Damn!! Well, I'll have to learn how to cook them, or get me a wife. Probably easier to just cook.

Lisa said...

Love this site and love me some RSB. We now live in Arvada, CO just outside Denver and have had luck finding them in Target. We eat them regularly in a dish my family called "Beans and Rice" - catchy huh?

Brown 1lb ground beef or buffalo (extra lean) and pour can of RSB in pan and mix. I put in salt and pepper, cumin garlic, onion and chili powder and serve over rice. Really quick meal especially if you use Uncle Ben's brown rice in the microwave pouch!!! Takes about 10 minutes!

Love your site - thanks for thinking about us homesick Texans.

Anonymous said...

ha, just found ur site. good stuff. i'm in brooklyn from tx. stole a can out of the cupholder of a friends car as he dropped me off from a good day of lake drinking outside austin this past independence weekend. put it in my golf bag and brought it back. thinking about opening em up now. i like to bring back the big cans with the jalapenos. u made ranch style beans from scratch... @#&%ing brilliant!!!

Anonymous said...

I too am a homesick Texan! Driving back to Ohio as I type! I was just telling my husband I forgot to buy some ranch style beans!! I will definitely try out your recipe. In the mean time I may try to find a grocery store in Arkansas as we are driving thru.

The Tome Traveller said...

I can't wait to try this recipe! I live in NH and have my family send me Ranch Style Beans by the box! Used to be able to get them at Walmart but they don't seem to have them up here anymore. Walmart does have RoTel tomatoes, though, only $1 a can!

This is a fantastic blog, I'll be a frequent visitor now that I've discovered it!

Porters said...

yum! I grew up with ranch style beans (we smothered our cheese quesadillas in them. We have a stock pile of these in our pantry- all the time- but I was thrilled to find a recipe. I am making them for the 2nd time and think they are fabulous!

BlueLineCali said...

I just discovered your blog and am thrilled to see your ode to Ranch Beans! I am a California native who couldn't get enough of Ranch Beans - particularly when paired with a nice grilled tri-tip steak! I just moved to Chicago and have looked for Ranch Beans EVERYwhere, to no avail! I have bookmarked your recipe and will be making a batch this weekend. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Type "Ranch Style Beans" into Google and you'll find several companies that ship them. A case of twenty-four cans runs about $45.00 plus $14.99 for shipping, thats $2.50 a can, not bad for that taste of Texas when your far from home.

Anonymous said...

From Tulsa to Denver To Vt.
Used to be a professional pilot that would bring the CanAgra Ranch Beans from Fla. by the case. Having ribs tonite and now I can have Texas Beans. You da man, thanks! animaldave3@cs.com

The Errant Cook said...

Well. Where do I begin? First off, hello from Tulsa. Ranch style beans are a must in our house, as part of my award-winning (OK, not really) chili recipe.

I'm the type of cook (and caker, and food blogger) that is always looking to recreate stuff you can get from the store, and see if it tastes better or if it's cheaper.

This recipe, dear Homesick Texan, is both. My husband, pickiest man on earth and my biggest food critic, said that these beans were *better* than Ranch Style out of the can. Yep. I did a cartwheel when he said that.

So there you go. For the cost of a pound of beans, a can of tomatoes, and a few spices (I used ancho powder- 1/4 cup was just right), I got the equivalent of 4 cans of store bought.

Bravissimo.

John said...

I'm from Waco, TX and have been transplanted to DC. Guess what I found at the local K-Mart. In the middle of the main isle, stacked 4 feet high, glorious cans of my beloved Ranch Style Beans! The Marylanders crowded around me in bewilderment as I knelt and prayed before the majestic payload of blessed beans! Needless to say I bought all I could afford. I hope that this is not just at my K-Mart, Good Luck to you all!

John said...

Name's "Clate" by the way.

dadinup said...

thanx for the recipe. i will try it very soon. i tried to bring back 5 cans last time i was in houston, but airport security took them away. go figure. i really appreciate your site, as i live way up north by lake superior.(land of the pastys, yuck). my choice of ingredients is what the local walmart carries.thanx again.

Jessica said...

What luck! I came across this post while searching for remodel ideas for my 60's RANCH STYLE kitchen! I live in Georgia and bought a can of these beans a few months ago- I thought the label was cool- but had no idea what RSBs were. Thanks for unlocking the mystery to whats the behind the label! Now I can open 'em up without worrying I'll waste them. Yum!

Anonymous said...

I remember the "husband pleasin'" label. We ate this at least once a week with Kraft mac and cheese, canned fruit salad and sausage. Comfort food!

Julia said...

I'm in CA and these beans are my go-to for office potlucks. RSB, black beans and salsa, throw em in the crock pot to keep warm. Cheap, simple and good!

Anonymous said...

These are kick @ss beans, as we used to say in San Antonio during my high school years. Just made these with a combo of ancho and pastilla chili powder from Kalustyan's. I was lazy and threw in a jar of Frontera salsa, didn't puree the mixture. Wow! These beans are the best i have ever made! Thanks for this wonderful recipe! Have lived in Jersey City for 10 years. Thank God I am able to cook my old favorites thanks to your blog. I can't wait until your cookbook comes out! - Elaina

Taylor and Robin said...

Just found your blog after googling how to make ranch style beans because this homesick Texan lives in the UK. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly) I can't even get ancho chiles here! I'm holding out hope that this one little store on the other side of town that carries hard to find American staples (corn tortillas, Hidden Valley Ranch packets, marshmallow fluff etc) will have either the actual beans or ancho chiles. Thanks for the recipe anyway - hopefully I'll be able to use it so I can make my chicken taco soup!

Nicole-The Galley Gourmet said...

After seeing a can of Ranch-Style Beans on the shelf at the store, I was intrigued and Googled them. I came across your recipe and wonderful blog. I have made these several times now and they are so delicious. Thank you for sharing.

Porters said...

I love Ranch beans...I have tried this and am wondering about the 'freshness' of the beans that you mentioned. Might this be why mine are tough after cooking for a few hours? I followed the recipe exactly...is there a way to boil it too high or too long? I am just determined to master it but wondering why I can't get these beans tender. I let them soak overnight and plus a few hours this morning. Any ideas?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Porters--That is frustrating! Beans are tricky, but I bet yours are old if they're not getting soft. Some people cook them with a pinch of baking soda to soften them up, but I find this can leave a sort of chalky flavor.

Natalie said...

I just stumbled across your website and I love it. I'm not from Texas, but Oklahoma is close enough to have some similar cuisine. I moved to Michigan and was SAD to find no Ro-Tel or Ranch Style Beans. I laugh at your plight only because I have the same one here. While Ro-Tel has finally made it on the shelves, I still haven't seen Ranch Style Beans and am thrilled to try your recipe. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Anon here -- Hubby from San Antonio doctors up Luck's Pinto Beans to make ranch beans. He also uses the Luck's Pintos (large can) to make refried beans with a little manteca to help out. This way we do not have to buy multiple cans, just one brand can do a couple of tasty things. Although, I have to say that with your recipe in hand, I might be able to make these for him. =)

Anonymous said...

Anon again - UK Mexican Foods - (Maryland was kinda like the UK for a while there for good Mexican ingredients)
Google - UK Mexican grocery stores
http://www.coolchile.co.uk/
http://www.yelp.co.uk/search?find_desc=mexican+grocery&find_loc=London
http://www.mexgrocer.co.uk/
http://www.casamexico.co.uk/products/mexican_groceries-40.html
Good luck on your search.

LadyJayPee said...

I made a recipe calling for ranch-style beans but a search through my town's grocery stores didn't produce any, so I was happy to find your recipe. I short-cut it by using organic canned pinto beans and only 2c of beef broth with everything else the same, adding the canned beans at the end of a long simmer. I had lots of extra sauce, but jarred & froze it for the future. Thank you for sharing this one!

Kerry said...

I grew up just across the river in Oklahoma north of Ft. Worth and lived there until I was 37. 11 years ago I moved to South Georgia. While I love it here, and the food is good, I find myself missing the flavors of home. I can replicate most things, but this was something I had never tried. I’ve used so many of your recipes and recommend this site to others all the time. When I found this recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it. Just as you said, the aroma in the house was amazing and took me right back to my childhood. I’ve made the recipe with the ancho chilies and using chili powder. Both made delicious beans. I have a pot cooking right now and will serve them alongside a big chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and homemade biscuits – comfort food. It takes me back every time! You have a wonderful site. Thank you for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

I was actually looking for a recipe for these and came across your blog. I am a homesick Texan. We do have RSB's here in Montana, but they're not always available. Having a recipe of my own means I don't have to buy them. Started them a little while ago, as I had soaked beans for chili last night!

Robin said...

I grew up on these beans and they're the only beans my toddler will eat. I was thrilled to find a recipe for them!! Even more thrilled when the recipe turned out to be BETTER than the original version :)
Took a gradual acclimatizing for the Bean Boy but now he LOVES these beans and asks for them daily. Well done!
PS: don't tell him I add some lentils to them

I also recommend the beans from Rancho Gordo, they make this recipe even more fabulous!

Robin said...

I also should have said that they freeze extremely well for anyone else who needs to freeze them in 'toddler weekly portions'

scottb said...

as a transplant from tx/co to massachusetts, ranch style beans, while around, are a rare find. have a pot of these simmering on the stove now. only change is i threw in a smoked chunk of rib trimmings (seasoned only with garlic salt and pepper) from the spares i did on the smoker last nite. will advise on the outcome!

Megan said...

Hello from Amarillo! Born and raised here, I grew up on Ranch Style Beans in the famous can. We use to have them in our tacos. Mom would make taco meat and heat up a can of the beans and we would stuff it all in taco shells! My husband never had them this way, now it is a staple in our house. He likes it even better without the meat, so we have "bean tacos." Just taco shells, a can of beans, sour cream, cheese, salsa...yum! We were stationed a couple of years in Tucson, and the friends I made there never even heard of them! Luckily, they had a few cans on the bottom shelf at the commissary so we never had to do without.

Also love the idea of the beans and taco meat over rice! Will be trying that soon.

BTW recently found your site (via pinterest) and I love it! Thanks!

Komadori said...

Well, I doubt I can find anchos in Japan, but I will make due with chili powder! I'm a displaced Texan far from home and I've been wanting to make my own rendition, using chickpeas, instead of pinto... Wish me luck. I hope they come out tasting half as good as that picture looks. Now, if only I had my hands on some rotel tomatoes to go with!

Anonymous said...

You can order the dried Ancho Chilies from Penzy's. I am not connected to them - just a happy customer!

Alicia said...

I made these last week and the family loved them. Especially the next day. I will make them a day ahead from now on. Anyway, I was glad to find your recipe because we are moving to a healthy eating life style where we are buying only organic canned veggies and of course there aren't any organic Ranch Style Beans. So....I'm wanting to make big batches of these and can them; however, I don't want them to turn to mush. Have you canned these? If so, did you cook them completely or partially before pressure canning them? Thanks for sharing!!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Alicia--I have never canned these so unfortunately I can't make a recommendation for you. They freeze well, though!

jamalee said...

As another homesick Texan living in CT and unable to find Ranch Style Beans anywhere up here unless I want to order $40 worth of 24 cans from Walmart, Thank you for your recipe! I am making them tomorrow! Why won't the stores stock them up here? Doesn't anyone realize how good they are?

Anonymous said...

The best and most foolproof way of eliminating "digestive issues" when making beans is quite simple:

Don't cook them in the soaking water.

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

BlueLineCali, Glad to see a another Californian who grew up on these too! Tri-tip and ranch beans--it's a central valley staple! (I always try to convince my Texan friends that inland California is not as different as they seem to think...never works!) A Brazilian friend of mine is convinced that Americans don't eat beans (???!) or at least, not enough of them. I figure I'll make these to show him that we do indeed! (From scratch, of course, as to not perpetuate the notion that all American food comes from a can or a drive thru, haha)
-Jenny

Anonymous said...

Best Beans Ever!!!! Filled the house with a smell I remember from childhood. Only use for pinto beans in my house from now on.

Pamela

Anonymous said...

Ok, maybe I did something wrong but this texas gal makes some fine pinto beans in her house quite frequently and these came out tough despite cooking for over 5 hours! Wondering if salt in beef broth toughened them up? Please help because the sauce was amazing!! Made these beans with your carne guisada and it was unbelievable. Love your site!
Courtney

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Courtney--It could be the tomatoes and vinegar in the chile puree, as they can toughen skins and slow cooking time if the beans are old. Try cooking the beans for a couple of hours before adding it.

Anonymous said...

Ranch Style Beans are a regular staple on my grocery list! One of my quick easy creations is to brown hamburger meat, rinse then add a can of ranch styles and a can of Rotel...and serve in a tortilla topped with cheese. There you have what we call "burrito night"!

Ron said...

When I make my Texas Chili with beans, Ranch Style Beans are my choice. I also throw in a can of white hominy with the beans and they are a nice addition to that chili. Ranch Style Beans are the cat's meow to us Texans. I am saving your recipe and am going to try them side by side with the real thing.

Ron, Seguin, Texas

Little Black Car said...

I just wanted to make sure you knew about the new Red Pepper Ranch Style Beans. They're not super hot; "zesty" is probably honest labeling. Just enough to leave a little burn in the back of your throat.

(No, I don't work for ConAgra. I just like beans.)

Jackie said...

I made your recipe for dinner this evening and my kids SCARFED it down! My hubby (a native Texan) loved them, too. Thank you so much for this recipe!!! It's a keeper for sure!

Note: I made these in the slow cooker on high and they took about 4 hours to reach desired doneness.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try your recipe! We take RSB's and put them in a food chopper, heat them up, then let them cool in fridge for the best bean dip ever!!! Serve with Tostitos. Way better than Lays bean dip.

Luke Romero said...

Thank you for the recipe and even more for the story

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe, I've got them on the stove-top now and they smell fantastic. Two hours until gastronomical bliss!
Cheers,
Bill

Lorraine said...

Hmmm, was so excited to see your recipe. Finally tried it. The flavorings were way too strong for our taste...., The flavor was spot on, I think, just way, way, way too strong for us. Thanks for a starting place, though! Cowboy beans, here we come (one of these times we'll finally get it right I s'pose) - and yes, we'll still reference your recipe to find that 'just right pot o' beans'! Thanks every so much. I've wanted to learn how to do this for a long time, and I'm finally on the journey, thanks to you!

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

These were the perfect compliment to our barbecue brisket this weekend; exactly as good as I expected!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm in the process of making these... they're on the stove simmering away. Noticed they appear to be VERY liquidy... will the 'sauce' thicken up over time? The only variance I made was to use canned Pinto's - 2 - 15 oz cans... Just hoping they'll thicken up!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--If they're too soupy, you can turn up the heat and cook until the broth has reduced.

Anonymous said...

My son and family were stationed in HI for several years and when we told them we were coming over, they requested we bring them 2 cases of Ranch Style Beans and we did so. Found out they made the request of every Texan why visited them! They still love 'em.

Karen said...

These turned out so well! Thank you for this recipe! I enjoyed ranch style beans once before in TX and these are just as I remember them. Very happy :)

Anonymous said...

We laughed when we moved to California. They had Ranch Style beans in Bakersfield, but the label is different. It says "TEXAS" Ranch Style beans. They became a novelty souvenir for our visitors from Texas -- LOL

China Mike said...

I absolutely LOVE YOU! =D I live in Hawaii now, before that, I spent several years in China. I am Texas, born and bred. I Google'd "pinto beans and ranch style recipe" and found you. Thanks for this site. All the best! China Mike

Anonymous said...

They are also great with browned ground beef & whole kernel corn added. Serve with salad &/or mashed potatoes. Very satisfying meal.

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