Out of sheer curiosity I purchased a package of Bolita Beans at LuLu’s Market in Brighton. Once home with my mysterious bag of beans, I Googled and found this out about the Bolita Bean.
Spanish settlers to the northern New Mexican region initially presented the Bolita Bean to North America. The bean was incorporated into much of the American Indian food traditions in the Four Corners region. With its high protein content and its general ease on the stomach, the Bolita Bean became an important crop, quickly becoming extensively cultivated throughout the American southwest. The beans are deep, pinkish-beige, almost salmon in color, and boast a taste richer in flavor than the Pinto bean, to which it is often compared. Unfortunately, because of this easy association, the Bolita Bean often looses out to the pinto bean in sales.
The beans are packaged by Adobe Milling, here in Dove Creek, Colorado. But where the heck is Dove Creek anyway? Well come to find out it’s the county seat of Dolores County in the Southwestern corner of our state. With a population 698 it’s also the most populated town in Dolores County. Dove Creek is the self-proclaimed Pinto Bean Capital of the World. Well who knew!
So what to do with these beans? Treating them like my Cowboy Beans, I simply rinsed one cup of beans, picked out the misfits and dumped them in the crockpot. I covered them with two cups water and turned them on low for an all day cook. Odd for our house, we had a partial bottle of red wine left undrank, so when I arrived home, I added about 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine, one teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 onion chopped, one clove garlic chopped, 1/2 chocolate bell pepper chopped (or any sweet bell pepper), one jalapeno pepper chopped, one teaspoon, or more, of cumin, one teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and drizzled in a about a tablespoon of olive oil. After about an hour more of steeping in the crockpot, I gave them a good dose of salt before serving.
I found these rich colored Chocolate Bell Peppers at Berry Patch Farms in Brighton. Sweet, juicy, heirloom, just as the sign says, “who can resist?”
Incredible with flavor, the beans were creamy and the end result was an earthy pungent side dish that we loved. With the paprika, red wine and the chocolate bell peppers, the color was stunning. Unfortunately, cooking them this way I have no idea how they compare with a pinto bean in flavor. I’ll be more pure with them next time I cook up a pot of these Bolito Beans.
Bolita Beans with Red Wine, Smoked Paprika and Jalapeño…It’s What’s for a Side Dish.