Lompoc, California, home cook Juliana Fabio includes kidney beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas in this tomato-based side dish, a riff on the Santa Maria—style beans traditionally served alongside tri-tip steak on California's Central Coast. This recipe first appeared in our December 2012 issue along with Georgia Freedman's story California Eternal.
¼ cup olive oil 8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 1 yellow onion, chopped 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 1 large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped 3 tbsp. tomato paste 1 tbsp. dried thyme 1 tbsp. dried oregano 1 tbsp. chile powder 1½ tsp. paprika 1 cup dried kidney beans, soaked overnight and drained 1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained 1 (15-oz.) can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand 1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, pepper, and jalapeño, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 12–15 minutes. Add paste, thyme, oregano, chile powder, and paprika, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add all beans and 7 cups water, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered partially, until beans are very tender, about 1 hour.
2. Uncover, stir in tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until tomatoes break down, about 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro, and season with salt and pepper before serving.