Make Ahead

Terence Hill's Beans

December 29, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I love beans. And I love Terence Hill's blue-eyed cowboy movies. In My Name is Nobody, he eats a mess of beans, very sloppily, and with huge enjoyment. Later, Henry Fonda daintily picks at some. This is how I interpreted that mess. The mission? Depth of flavour. (Adding the vinegar and wine too early will slow down the beans' cooking time) - Marie Viljoen —Marie Viljoen

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe has everything we want with beans: pork fat from pancetta, and smoke and heat from dried poblanos (ancho chiles). Marie Viljoen uses a cool technique of adding vinegar and then a bunch of wine toward the end of cooking, which sharpens the dish with acid and keeps the wine flavor fresh, levitating atop the hearty beans and pork. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed lightly
  • 6 pancetta rashers, sliced into ribbons
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups red kidney beans
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water to cover
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Poblano peppers, soaked, seeded and chopped roughly
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bunch flatleaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups dry but fruity red wine
  • salt and peppa
  1. Soak the beans in water overnight or bring to a boil and allow to rest in water until it is cold, discarding water in either event.
  2. In the olive oil, gently saute the scallions, the garlic, and add the pancetta, cooking over medium heat until the fat runs a little.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir until it has lightly caramelized.
  4. Add the drained beans, with enough chicken stock or water to cover them.
  5. Add the sugar, the peppers and the herbs, stir, and cover.
  6. Cook gently until the beans are fork-piercable tender, adding additional stock or water from time to time.
  7. When barely tender add vinegar and red wine.
  8. Cook, with lid removed, until the wine has been absorbed.Taste!
  9. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
  10. Serve with crusty baguette and sweet butter. Not that Terence ever had either. Or the wine for that matter.
Contest Entries

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  • Angel
  • KitchenKim
  • Michelle McKenzie
    Michelle McKenzie
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • Marie Viljoen
    Marie Viljoen

26 Reviews

vbrown4192 February 2, 2021
I loved these! I didn’t have a few things like poblano, which I opted for canned ancho chiles which added a lovely smokiness to them! I left out the wine since I sadly didn’t have any left 🙄 I had leftovers and was able to freeze some, so excited for round two!
Natalie R. October 8, 2016
Just finished eating my first bowl. I live alone, so I get the next three to myself! Definitely looking forward to it.

Here are my extensive cooking notes that no one asked for:
I used guanciale because I had 3 oz leftover and some googling told me that a rasher typically weighs 1/2 oz. I chopped it into more cubes than slices for meatier texture. Instead of adding oil, I added the guanciale to a cold pan, let the fat render a bit, and then fried everything as instructed, except the tomato paste, which I sadly forgot and had to add right after the beans. Because I have hard water, I brined the kidney beans in 8 cups of water and 1.5 tbsp salt, draining but not rinsing afterwards. I had very fresh ancho chiles, so I was able to chop them without soaking to preserve their flavor for the pot. I used water instead of broth. As for wine, I used Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana, which might have been overkill, but the flavor profile sounded like it would match (and match it did). I'm pretty much in love with this dish. Thank you very much for making it! Sadly, I have no idea who Terence Hill is, but I loved the story nonetheless.
emmapeel October 8, 2016
Terrence Hill is /was Don Matteo. An Italian actor.😇
Angel August 10, 2013
Nice and hearty. My husband can't have anything with wine in it due to allergies, so I added 2 T grape jam. It was a nice addition to get the flavor I needed and not the migraine-inducing qualities for my love.
emmapeel March 21, 2013
I simply adore Terrence hill!!!!!
Sabine V. January 7, 2013
Would like to add, that I had a crush on Terrance Hill. So it's most intriguing that you named the bean dish after him. I assume you were and are a fan of his. congratulations. The recipe is very tasty and just great. thank you.
bewler June 29, 2012
At step 6 - approximately, how long do you cook the beans until fork tender?
MelMM January 22, 2010
I made these last night and they were fantastic! The wine was an unexpected touch, but really melded beautifully with the beans, chiles and pork.

One adaptation I made: At step 6, I cooked the beans for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. Next time I'll reduce that a bit. Maybe 12 minutes. Did a quick release on the pressure, then added the wine and vinegar and then cooked uncovered for the rest of the recipe. This made the recipe quick enough that I was able to cook it on a weeknight after a long day at work.
KitchenKim January 12, 2010
Sounds just wonderful!
Marie V. January 12, 2010
Hope you try it, KitchenKim! A dollop of sour cream at serving is great with it.
Michelle M. January 10, 2010
the addition of wine is an unexpected but ingenious touch!
Marie V. January 12, 2010
Wine makes everything better :-)
mealhubby January 8, 2010
Both dishes look fantastic. Going for pure beans here, T Hills beans gets my vote.
Marie V. January 12, 2010
Thanks, mealhubby - you also need to wear boots while eating them...
MarthaP January 7, 2010
Amazing combination of ingredients - I can't wait to try it. But what is "rasher" of pancetta? Is that the same as a slice, and is all pancetta roughly the same size?
Marie V. January 7, 2010
Hi MarthaP - that's my colonial roots coming out. Yes, a slice.

You can buy pancetta already sliced, or in one piece (rolled). If it's rolls, just slice yourself as needed. Alternatively, you can cut it into 'lardons', fat little cubes, which I've done before. Also delicious in salads with vinegar sloshed into the pan to make the dressing.

If you can't find pancetta, subs. bacon. Pancetta just has a slightly gamier taste, which I love.
TheWimpyVegetarian January 7, 2010
This looks really interesting. I haven't cooked much with red kidney beans except in chili, but you've motivated me to try this. It's not exactly a New Year's Resolution for me, but I'm trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my everyday diet and cooking. Thanks for posting.
Marie V. January 7, 2010
Dried poblano, yes - thanks you for catching it! Known as ancho. Amanda and Merrill 's notes describe it.

The red wine: I used a Chilean red from the Maipo Valley, made with Carmenere grapes, called Chono. Dark, plummy, a little spicy. I would call it a fairly substantial red :-)

lastnightsdinner January 7, 2010
I smiled so wide when I saw your recipe was a finalist - congrats!
Marie V. January 7, 2010
Oh, Jen. It was your post that made me run for the beans!!!
KLL5 January 7, 2010
When you saw soak the peppers- do you mean to use dried poblanos?
Marie V. January 8, 2010
Yup - ancho
dymnyno January 7, 2010
I am making this as soon as I get the recipe, especially the addition of red wine. Do you use a big red like Cabernet? a Merlot? maybe a Syrah?
Marie V. January 7, 2010
Sorry - see my comment above :-)
dymnyno January 7, 2010
oops , sorry I missed your wine selection. I would probably choose a California wine...I make a great Cabernet Franc.(Chile makes some fantastic wines too)
Marie V. January 8, 2010
No, I didn't reply in the right space to your question :-) You didnt miss anything.

I love Cabernet franc, and after looking at your profile, consider me Jealous. If I had another life, I would love to pursue a wine- making one.