What heirloom beans do you prefer for making bean soup with smoked ham shank or smoked turkey? ;o)

I've been experimenting this fall, and have found Scarlet Runner Beans to be excellent. I tried some "Snow Capped Beans" which are pretty when dry, but not as flavorful as the Scarlet Runners. What kinds do you like, for flavor and texture? Thanks so much. ;o)



violist November 19, 2011
To expand on calendargirl's comments, if you go to you tube you can watch Steve Sando's videos as to how he prepares his beans without using meat. There quite interesting, and I would strongly suggest trying any of the Rancho Gordo's heirloom beans. I think the difference is quite amazing!
garlic&lemon November 16, 2011
If you can get your hands on some Anasazi beans, they are wonderful straight up or with smoked turkey. I think they are about as heirloom as you can get, since they were grown from beans discovered at an archeological site here in the Southwest! They are mild and creamy.
lorigoldsby November 16, 2011
AJ--thanks for the heads up on the snow capped beans--I thought it was just me!
luvcookbooks November 16, 2011
I used organic Black Turtle Beans (?heirloom or not) this Sunday with an also organic smoked pork shank, used a recipe for Cuban Black Bean Soup finished with sofrito-- onion, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, and tomato. That's all! My husband said it was restaurant quality but he may be biased. Well worth it to pay premium at the farmer's market for Cayuga Organic beans.
Helen's A. November 14, 2011
I agree with calendargirl. Since I've found Rancho Gordo, I just make their beans straight up. I usually make them in the pressure cooker using Lorna Sass' directions.

That being said, I love a lentil soup made with some type of smoked meat. The little French lentils are great for that.
calendargirl November 14, 2011
AntoniaJames, this is a good question. I went to Steve Sando's book (Heirloom Beans) to help with this, since he is the king of heirloom beans as owner of Rancho Gordo in Napa. He says something surprising: that his heart sinks whenever he hears someone say that they will just add ham hocks to beans, since the heirlooms are so flavorful and toothsome on their own. He suggests saving the pork for some other use. He does, however, have recipes for a chowder with smoked chicken and yellow eye beans and the classic Senate Bean Soup (with a ham hock and yellow eyes again). I haven't tried them, but you might give yellow eyes a try in the context of smoked ham or turkey. Please report back, it's definitely bean soup weather here in DC!
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