Tepary Bean Stew

This is the second of the three recipes I presented at Tucson Meet Yourself, and one of my favorite dishes I’ve made for a few presentations and demonstrations, yes a dish I somehow magically forget to photograph. Oh well.

This soup couldn’t be more simple and more suited to deal with the different dietary restrictions so many people carry. No dairy. No meat. No soy. Gluten is easily eliminated. Completely satisfying in its scent and far more filling than first appears.

Tepary beans may be purchased from Ramona Farms, at http://www.ramonafarms.com and various locations throughout Arizona as listed through their website. They may also be purchased at San Xavier Co-op, as well as bichicoris and dry cholla buds. 

Bichicoris, known to the Tohono O’odham people as ha:l, is a squash, which is peeled, cut into a long winding rope, and hung to dry in the desert sun. Seeds for this particular squash can be purchased from Native Seed Search.

20191023_142706
Squash typically used for bichicoris for sale at a Phoenix area Mexican grocery store.

 

Tepary Bean Stew

  • Bichicoris, dry hard squash, to taste 
  • 1 pound brown tepary beans
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp dry Mexican oregano
  • ⅓ cup wheat berries
  • ½ cup dry cholla buds
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Quelites, fresh wild greens such as verdolagas, amaranth, etc, to taste
  • 4 chileverde, fire roasted, seeded, peeled, cut into strips

Pick through and clean tepary beans. Soak for 8 to 10 hours in cold water. Drain the beans, and remove any beans which may not have reconstituted. 

Bring 3 quarts water to boil. Once boiling, add the bichicoris (dry squash) to the pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Remove and set aside to cool. Bring water back to a boil and stir well. Begin cooking beans at a simmer, and skim any scum on the surface. Once clear, add bay leaves, and grind oregano between palms while adding to the pot. Loosely cover pot and simmer for half an hour. 

While beans cook, cut bichicoris into 1 inch long pieces. After initial half hour of simmering, add remaining ingredients, except quelites and chileverde. Bring back to a simmer, and loosely cover again. Continue to cook until turn tender, approximately 3 hours. Season to taste with salt and continue to cook until beans release their earthy fragrance. The beans should be soft, with the skin just splitting. Add in quelites and chileverdes. Adjust seasoning as needed.  

If during cooking the beans begin to run dry, add enough hot water to cover by at least 1”. Avoid adding cold water as this will lengthen the cooking process.

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