This is the bean that started the whole thing for Rancho Gordo! Steve, Rancho Gordo's founder, was eating a bowl of simply cooked Rio Zapes and they blew his mind. He remembers: "The flavor was reminiscent of Pintos but there was so much more going on. I could detect traces of coffee and chocolate and the velvety texture was like nothing else. I was sold on heirloom varieties after just one bite."
Rio Zape is similar to a classic Pinto bean, but it's denser and exudes a deep, rich pot liquor. They don't work well in a lot of recipes, because they are so rich and distinct. In Mexico, there's a great dish called enfrijoladas that uses pureed black beans as the basis for a sauce, similar to enchiladas but with beans instead of chile sauce. Rio Zape beans seem born for the dish. They also make excellent refried beans.
Use Rio Zape beans for pot beans, soup, dips, refried beans, and casseroles.