These tiny light-red beans are grown only in the Santa Maria Valley, as far as anyone knows. They create their own rich sauce when cooked long and slow.
1 pound dried pinquito beans* or pinto beans
4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 chopped medium white onion
1 to 2 tbsp. chili powder
1 (4 oz.) can green chiles, such as Ortega brand
1 small garlic clove, minced or crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
How to Make It
Wash beans and put in a large pot. Add enough water to cover beans by twice their depth. Cook over low heat, covered, until tender, 2 to 3 hours. Add enough water during cooking to keep beans covered by about 1/2 in. (they should be a little soupy).
While beans are simmering, cook bacon in a medium frying pan over medium-low heat until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Add onion and chili powder and cook another 10 minutes. Stir in green chiles and minced garlic, and cook until flavors have mingled, 5 minutes more.
When beans are tender, gently stir in onion mixture, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened slightly but beans are still quite soupy, 10 to 15 minutes.