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Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit; Cook’em Right!

Pinto Beans

Maybe you think you know how to cook pinto beans? Well, here’s a video that begs to differ with you (maybe)…

Here’s the recipe contents:

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (she used white, I’d use yellow)
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-2 whole jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 dash liquid smoke
  • 1 dash bottle hot sauce

Truth is, it’s clear this woman has never cooked pinto beans for folks in the deep South. More on that in a bit; first, the parts I think Miranda got right:

  • She pointed out the “advantages” of beans: low fat, high protein, tasty.
  • She used good smoked ham hocks.
  • She added chiles and plenty of spices.
  • She cooked the beans slowly and for long enough time.

Some stuff she missed on:

  • She used a quick-soak method; that makes the beans “gassy.” (Overnight soaking in the fridge cuts gas down.)
  • She only used water. Some broth or stock would be nice in the final cook. (Watch the salt, though!)
  • Where’s the garlic? Did I miss something? Don’t tell me that wimpy 1 tsp garlic powder’s all.
  • More onions! More chiles!
  • Worcestershire? Meh; if you get the rest right, you don’t really need it.
  • She tossed away the ham bones. What about the poor ‘coon dogs, eh?
  • She let the beans get dry. Dry beans, nothing to soak cornbread into.
  • She forgot to cook cornbread to go with the beans. (Hers are dry, though; strike two!)
  • She forgot some dried herbs. Where’s the epazote? At least oregano should be in there! Maybe some thyme too.
  • She put some green something on top at the end. (Please, please tell me it wasn’t parsley.)

Cranberry Beans

Okay, maybe a six out of ten chiles for Miranda’s effort. I often use chile powders (a secret blend of ancho, cayenne, smoked paprika, chipotle, etc.) with no salt w, so I need to add some salt. If you use a commercial chili powder mix, remember that salt is the No. 1 ingredient in most of those; you won’t need extra salt! I also use some freshly-ground black pepper in my beans.

If you use the slow-soak method for the beans, then you can easily use your slow cooker for the beans. Why? Because once you actually start cooking, you put everything together and “set and forget.” An ideal crock application! Use slow setting, 6-8 hours, and they’ll be fine.

Just don’t ever try to rush this process! Southern-style pintos are a food of love; you don’t rush your loving, do you? (Maybe that’s too much Social Sharing.)

So what’s your secret for great Southern-style pinto beans? Drop us a line here at the Underground and you too can be famous…

Enjoy the (Musical Toot Froot) Heat!


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