Monday, July 13, 2009

Pinto Beans for Dad

My Dad loves taking soup and/or beans to work for lunch everyday.  It is a filling meal and for the most part, I make him pretty healthy stuff to eat.  Although beans aren't a lot of people's favorite thing to eat, they are cheap, super good for you and can actually taste good if you do them right.  I started with a pound of dried pinto beans and ended up with 4 pints of beans to freeze for Dad's lunches.  I estimate that this pot of beans cost around $4.50 to make.  You can't beat that for 4 lunches.

Many times (at least in the south) beans are made with a lot of pork fat in them.  I have used ham bones, fat back, etc in mine before when I had it on hand.  It ended up as a leftover ham bone from a holiday most of the time.  Awhile back I came up with a good way to still have great tasting beans without all of the animal fat in them.  No, they don't taste like ham but they still have a great taste that isn't just water, salt and beans.  

The Way I Make My Pintos
1 lb of dried pinto beans
4 cups of chicken broth (you can do 2 if that's all you have...just add more water)
6 cups of water (estimated...maybe 5)
1 1/2 TBL sugar
2 TBL of Canola Oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of black pepper
2 tsp of salt

Before adding any of the above ingredients, sort through your beans and make sure that you don't find any rocks.  I found 2 just in the bag that I had the other day.  After this cover them with water in a pan and bring to a hard boil.  Let boil for 1 minute and then drain.  Put back on stove and add all of the above ingredients.  Bring to a slow boil and turn down on low and allow to simmer.  It will probably take a good 3 hours for your beans to be mushy enough to eat.  You don't want them to be crispy still.  If you like a thicker broth then continue to let simmer.  If you notice that they are getting too thick and aren't done then you should add some more water. 

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