Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cow Bean Salad

Cattle Call by Eddy Arnold
This is one of those instances where the recipe sort of picks the song itself - or the song picks the recipe.  Either way, this is the song that ended up playing through my head every time I thought about cow beans and the salad I would make with them.  For some reason, it's in my brain that cowboys would eat cow beans.  I pictured them eating my delicious salad at night around the campfire after a long day of herding cattle.  What do I know about cowboy life?  Absolutely nothing - except what I've seen in the movies!  And my favorite movie about herding cattle - "City Slickers"- then has me pondering about what the perfect flavor of ice cream would be to complement my Cow Bean Salad!  (Fans of the movie will know what I'm talking about!)  What do you think?  Cow beans and cowboys!  It sounds like a match to me!

A few weeks ago I was strolling along at our farmers market and found one of my favorite stalls.  These folks have the most gorgeous fruits and vegetables.
And they have beans!
And these black and white beans caught my eye.
I'd never seen them before!  The sign said "cow beans" and it did look like a bin filled with tiny little holsteins!  These beans were flashy!  They had sass!  So I stopped and chatted with the vendor for a few minutes to find out about these little guys.

She said that they were similar to black beans and pintos.
But you don't have to soak them over night.  Just bring them to a boil and then simmer for 30 - 40 minutes until just tender.  Then drain and use!  I asked if she thought they'd be good for a salad and she said most certainly!  Awesome!  Just to be sure, I double-checked about the "no soaking" claim.  You know - the soaking is supposed to cut down on the "gassy" effect some beans can have.  She assured me - no gas!  But she also told me about a trick you can do that will help with the unpleasant side effect of some beans.  She said that if you add garlic to beans, it reduces the gas!
Who knew?!  Did you?  It was news to me! 

So I came home with a pound of these black and white cuties.
And then the fun began as I mentally concocted my salad recipe.  My online research into the beans brought me little info.  The one claim I found most exciting - that the beans kept their bright white and black color even after cooking - proved to be not quite right, as you can see.  So, with little new info outside of what the vendor shared, I was pretty much on my own!

  I persisted with the whole cowboy idea and how they like things smoky.  I was really tickled with myself when I decided to throw some roasted poblano peppers into the mix.  Yes!  I love roasting them and eating them.  And get ridiculously happy when I can find a reason to include them in dishes!  After the peppers,  I let color guide my selections and came up with a really tasty - and non-gassy - salad!

Oh - and after I had it all mixed up, I started playing around with the idea of adding some feta or goat cheese.
My spoon says that they both taste great - but feta is killer good as a last minute sprinkle over top!  And let's not forget how good bacon would taste all crisped up and stirred in at the end!  Both great options! So grab yourself some cow beans - and why not pull a cowboy along as well - and enjoy!

Cow Bean Salad
serves 4
1/2 lb. cow beans
2 poblano (pasilla) peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
8 - 10 cherry tomatoes, quarterd
1 handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 red onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
feta cheese crumbles
crumbled crispy bacon

Place the cow beans into a sauce pan and cover with cold water by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 30 - 40 minutes - until just tender.  Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Roast the poblano peppers over an open flame or in the oven.  You can go to my Poblano Pepper Spread post to see how to do it, if you're not sure.  Rub off the charred skin, remove the stem and seeds and chop.  Add to the large bowl.

Add the minced garlic, the tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and carrots to the bowl.

In a separate container, whisk together the red wine vinegar, the vegetable oil, salt, and sugar.  Mix well and then pour enough over the beans and veggies to give them a good coating.  Stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

For extra tastiness, garnish with some feta cheese and some crispy bacon pieces!  Yum!


  1. We love beans even more than apricots!! :) Your posts are hitting the mark two weeks in a row! :)

    I just read in an America's Test Kitchen cookbook the other day that adding a pinch of baking soda to the water as the beans simmer will keep their color and they won't get all fadey and ugly. And you know that ATK don't lie....

    1. I will have to try the baking soda trick because the brighter white these beans are the prettier that salad would be! I was sad to find that they were all out of the beans the next time I went. They said they had to keep back plenty so they can plant more next year. AND you will be interested to hear that he said they have lots more variety of beans for next year that nobody has heard of around here! So I'm already stoked for next year!