When you order the hearty tepary bean ragout ($6) at The Market by Jennifer’s, you get a little taste of Arizona history. The small white beans hail from Ramona Farms on the Gila River Indian Reservation near Sacaton and were once near extinction due to drought. Native American farmers Ramona and Terry Button brought the beans back to life in the late 1970s from seeds Ramona’s father left in glass jars in the adobe house where she spent her childhood.
For Jennifer Russo, chef/owner of The Market by Jennifer’s and Jennifer’s Catering, tepary beans afford the opportunity to utilize and showcase a local Arizona product while providing a satisfying vegan option for her customers. Preparing the buttery-tasting beans is a two-day process – the legumes are soaked in cold water overnight and brought back to room temperature in the morning. Russo mixes in garlic, celery, thyme and chile flakes to “add a little pep,” heats the mixture until it boils, then turns it down to simmer for about six hours – “low and slow.”
After the beans are cooked and strained, Russo sautés diced onions and carrots, garlic and shallots in olive oil and adds the cooked beans to the pan. She throws in chopped tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables and then finishes the dish with fresh herbs.
The flavorful beans are not only tasty, but they also boast a whopping 26 grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein per ½-cup serving. Toot toot. That’s beautiful music to a vegan’s ear.
The Market by Jennifer’s
3603 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix
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