Food Forum: An Easy and Satisfying Pot of Beans for a Cold Spring Day

I wrote this week’s Forum on a sunny 70 degree day, dreaming of farmers markets and sunrise hikes. Then I looked at the forecast and saw that in two days there was a 50% chance of snowing.

Avril does what she wants, so in honor of the gloomy weather and Mother Nature surprising us with hail, I’m sharing a recipe an Everett reader perfected during the COVID-19 pandemic, this one which he calls his “comfort food of choice”.

We’re talking about a hearty pot of beans. But not just any old legume.

“I discovered Anasazi Beans a few years ago on a trip to the Southwest,” wrote Patrick St. Mary. “They have a delicious flavor and are, let’s just say, easy on the digestive system.”

The cream and speckled brown bean can be mail-ordered from Adobe Mills via, but St. Mary said he also found them (relatively) locally at Anacortes Market.

If you’re unable to source Anasazi beans, St. Mary’s said dried cranberry beans or kidney beans can be used as a substitute. He makes this recipe using his Instant Pot (which I admittedly haven’t bought yet but which I’m getting closer and closer to every day) as well as a homemade broth using a recipe from Marco Canora’s book: ” Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook”. The recipe can also be found here:

“This is a great all-purpose bone broth that I always keep in my freezer,” St Mary wrote. “But feel free to use store-bought chicken broth instead, I won’t say.”

Cooking dried beans (versus using canned) gives you control over flavor and salt content. In this case, a savory backdrop of bay leaf, cumin, garlic, ham and other ingredients makes for a bone-warming casserole of beans, perfect for a cold spring day. Plus, it’s incredibly easy: no soaked beans, no onion tears, no chopping vegetables (even garlic cloves go whole). Just throw the ingredients in the pot, put it in and, well, you’re ready to go.

Instant Pot Anasazi Beans

2 cups Anasazi dried beans (or dried beans of your choice)

8 garlic cloves, peeled

4 cups Hearth broth (or chicken broth)

2 dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 can 4 oz chopped jalapeño peppers (or chopped green peppers if you want it less spicy)

2 tablespoons dried onion

1 cup chopped ham

1 tablespoon of salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 tbsp chopped parsley, to garnish

Place the dried beans, garlic cloves, broth, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, jalapeños (or green chiles), ham, and dried onion into the Instant Pot.

Close the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 45 minutes, then release the pressure for about 30 minutes. Carefully open the lid.

Put the pan in the soup position. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes to thicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

Melvin B. Baillie