The Perfect Pinto Bean Recipe
Has anyone else had the feeling that they came out of the womb with an expectation from their parents? With the feeling that you would not belong in a family without a certain set of skills? I have.
You see, "making a pot of beans" was an assumed skill in my household. Every child could participate in this process: the younger ones sort the rocks and bad beans out from the normal bunch, middle children wash and fill the pot with water, while the older children deal with some form of pork to add to the beans. As I'm writing this, I am wondering how many gallons of beans have been made in my parents' bean pot between their 40 years of their marriage, 7 kids + grandchildren, and countless church & social gatherings. Ah, but I digress.
Although I used to complain about having burritos at least 7 times a week growing up, this family tradition taught me to feed the 5000 on a nickel's' worth of food. Add rice to the beans and you have a complete protein. Throw a hefty amount of salsa on that, and you have a serving of vegetables! In a college town that thrives off $7 burritos from Chipotle, I appreciate this flavorful and budget-friendly bean recipe to make my own burritos.
Anyways, back to what I was born to do: making a pot of beans. This recipe is going to be the least standardized of them all, but it gives you the flexibility to make a batch of pinto beans for 1 or for 100 people. You'll see.
Spice Girl | Pinto Bean Recipe
Serves 1 million (kind of)
-Dried pinto beans to fill 1/3 of designated bean pot
-Water to fill 2/3 of designated bean pot
-Ham hock or bacon slices
1. Spread beans onto a flat surface to sort out rocks and bad beans. Add sorted beans to pot.
If I am feeling extra meticulous, split beans are counted out as well, but that's not necessary. Just get all the rocks out.
2. Rinse sorted beans to remove dirt. Once beans are cleaned, fill pot with 1/3 beans and 2/3 water. DO NOT SALT.
Salting at this step keeps the beans hard no matter how long you cook them.
3. Add desired pork product. For 1 lb of beans, 3 chopped slices of bacon are standard. For pots of beans more than 3 lbs, ham hocks are great. Or just add more bacon.
4. Bring pot of beans to a boil, then turn down to a slow rolling simmer.
5. Cook for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally.
6. When beans become tender and start to break up, add salt to taste.
The amount of salt is up to you. The rule is: small handful of salt for a small pot, and a large handful (or three) for a large pot. Under-salted beans do not have a place at the dinner table.
7. Continue to cook for a short time until the salt has dispersed.
These beans can be enjoyed in many different ways, but I tend to heat up my favorite flour tortilla, add these beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and fresh salsa. But please, get creative with it, and let me know how it goes!