Anasazi beans are sort of the Lazarus taxa of the bean world! They are also known as Anasazi Cave Beans, Pole Beans, Aztec Beans, New Mexico Cave Beans, and Appaloosas. According to Ken Albala in Beans: A History the story is that they were rediscovered as early as the 1950's and as late as the 1980's by a team of UCLA archaeologists in a clay pot sealed with pine tar near the Mesa Verde cliff-dwellings. They carbon-dated to about 500 BCE - and they sprouted! All Anasazi beans in the current marketplace can be traced back to this one clay pot. Here, the beans are paired with hominy in a soup that is still commonly made in one form or another throughout the southwest.
Pueblo Anasazi bean and hominy soup
makes 4 servings
- 2 cups dried Anasazi beans, soaked overnight
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups dried hominy, soaked overnight
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP dried powdered chile
Drain the Anasazi beans, place in a large pot and add 4 cups of the water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour, stirring often and adding water to keep the beans covered. Drain, rinse and add the hominy, salt and chile powder. Cover pot partially and simmer for 1-2 hours, until the beans and hominy are tender. Add water as necessary to keep beans and hominy submerged. Ladle into individual bowls and serve with green chile sauce or top with strips of roasted green chile.
To round out the meal, serve with blue or yellow corn tortillas.
If you can't get hold of Anasazi beans, pinto beans can be substituted.
I used a mix of three different dried powdered chile; feel free to use what kind you like best. Chiles from the Southwest of the United States would be most authentic.
Recipe adapted from Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions by Smithsonian American Indian by Fernando Divina and Marlene Divina.