In August of 2011, Sumo and I took a little trip to Arizona. He had been working on a project at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott. So while he worked, I got to play.
Now, Prescott is the town that comes to mind when you think of a cowboy walking through the swinging doors of a saloon. Infact, Wyatt and Virgil Earp, along with Doc Holliday, were patrons of Prescott’s most famous saloon – The Palace.
While Sumo and I were visiting, we had a night out at The Palace. I remember getting the ranch beans and thinking, “Whoa baby, these are good!”
The problem was that I had no idea how to make them. I tried to eat them slowly – taking my time to figure them out. I recognized the cumin and the garlic, but after that I wasn’t so sure.
Imagine my surprise when, while back in the hotel room, I found a recipe book filled with local favorites. I tore though the pages in search of those deliciously scrumptious beans. And I struck gold.
The problem? The book said that if I republished the recipe, I could be sued. I was devastated, heart-broken, downright sad. So, I didn’t bother to write it down.
When I got home I wanted the beans so badly that I didn’t care anymore. I tried to remember the recipe; I racked through my brain in search of the place where it could have been stored.
I never found it; I did, however, remember the ingredients. I think.
So, without further ado, I present to you my version of those wonderful ranch beans.
Chicken with Ranch Beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can water
1 tsp salt
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/3 c taco sauce
4 oz green chilies, diced
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 chicken breasts (mine were pretty small; adjust your cooking time if needed)
1. In a large soup pot, add beans, water, salt, onion, garlic pepper, cumin, taco sauce, chilies, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer uncovered for around 30 minutes – or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remember to stir frequently so that you don’t burn the beans to the bottom of the pot.
2. Meanwhile, preheat your skillet over medium heat. When skillet is hot, add vegetable oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken breasts. Cook for 5 minutes, flip, and cook until cooked through. Remember! Chicken is considered to be ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
3. Place chicken on plates and top with ranch beans. Wait for your family to tell you that this is their new favorite dish and that they want it tomorrow, too.
** You could go the whole dried beans route and soak them overnight, boil them, blah, blah, blah… The thought of that process gave me fits of hysteria, so I just bought a can. Oh, also, my grocer was out of pinto beans during this trip; I just used cannellini. It all worked out in the end. **