Pinto Beans....a Southern staple. They should be easy and straightforward but at least for me they have been anything but! The first time I made them I followed the directions on the back of the bag of beans-- I don't recommend this!! After that I consulted with the 'bean expert' at work and picked up a few tips. From there, I have just added different things, experimenting with the recipe to find what works for us.
I start with the dried beans. Traditionally I would pre-soak these- probably overnight - but I have converted to the slow cooker version of pinto beans so soaking is really not necessary.
I dumped the entire 16 oz of dried beans in the slow cooker then covered them with water so that there is about 2 inches of water above the beans. Then I start to add seasonings...the best way to season pinto beans is with ham, preferably something like a ham bone left from a previous meal. I don't cook ham a lot so this is not something that I usually have on hand! It is also acceptable to purchase some salt pork for seasoning or even use bacon grease but I have recently just used bacon. (My mom used to omit the pork and use olive oil and the beans were always good!) The only other "required" ingredients would be salt and pepper.
Today's beans had the following ingredients:
16 oz dried beans
5 strips of applewood smoked bacon
2 cloves of garlic
half of a white onion
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper-to taste
water to cover
I then cooked them on low all day in the slow cooker - about 8 hours until they are really soft and the water was all absorbed so I was left with very thick beans. If you prefer them to be of a thinner consistency you could add more water in the beginning or even add water once they have begun to thicken.
This is a pic of the leftovers...not much left!!
Served with yellow cornbread, fried potatoes and coleslaw--mmmmmm!!
These are even better the next day- if there are any left!!