Who doesn’t love a big ol bowl of steaming hot, creamy, smoky Pinto Beans? Seriously, is there a better comfort food out there? I don’t think so. Besides that, I learned The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans the other day and I’m sharing it with you today! Thanks Mona!
So what’s The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans ? What could make a plain ol bowl of beans tastier? You mean, you don’t know? You will soon enough.
What I really want to know is what do you talk to people about out in public? Do you talk weather? Do you mention your favorite state ball team? You must not have been talking to me. My conversations tend towards food (it is a universal thing, after all!). I find out where the best places to eat out are. I find out how to make the BEST BBQ (thanks Uber driver in Salt Lake City – I’ll give your recipe a go too!) and…. of course…. Beans. The ever humble pinto bean.
This great conversation was sparked when a friend of mine won an award from the GOVERNOR of NC for her volunteer service with the humane service (Go Emily) and one of my other friends, Mona (the Founder and Director of the Stokes Humane Society) said something to me about a few recipes she would like to see covered at Loaves and Dishes.
You might think talking about beans and chicken and dumplings is strange conversation to have with people on the street. But I LOVE to talk to readers about food and therefore, if you want to tell me what you would like to see here – then by all means, tell me! I will do it – if I know how. If I don’t, I’ll learn.
In this case, we talked about Pinto Beans and Mexican Cornbread. YUM!!! Right? Right! That is how Mona came to share with me her delicious addition to Pinto Beans! She is absolutely right. I came home and in less than 2 days I was making Pinto Beans with her yummy change.
The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans
Mona asked me if I have ever made Pintos with the addition of the jarred broth concentrate. My answer? No, as a matter of fact, I haven’t. “You won’t be sorry”, she said.
She is right. I’m not sorry. Not even a little bit.
I JUST bought a jar that I found at the grocery store when I ran out of my little chicken bouillon cubes. Goodbye bouillon cubes – forever. I’m including a photo from Amazon of the bouillon that I used – I can vouch for it. You might have a different type of bouillon base (the creamy kind) that you like. Let me know if you do.
If you want to click the photo, you’ll go right through to Amazon and you can check the price. You can find it at your local grocery too – of course, it won’t be delivered to your door that way. (By the way, they aren’t paying me to say this – I just like to share when I know of a great product – however, if you buy through this photo link to amazon, Loaves and Dishes will get 4% of the purchase price which goes to support the blog and 10% is tithed monthly).
Something I never do – but am doing on this post – I’m going to include ALL of the ways I cook beans. You will find a recipe for Pintos in the crock pot, Pintos in the pressure cooker (my latest favorite) and Pintos on the stovetop. The recipe in the printable box is for stovetop. The tips and tricks section includes the pressure cooker and the crockpot.
THE RECIPE FOR The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans
- 1 16 oz bag of pinto bean
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 4 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp chicken broth concentrate
- 1 bay leaf
- Rinse the bag of beans well and remove any that look like they are past their prime. If unsure - chuck it.
- Pour the beans into a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water and allow to soak overnight. Alternately, you can boil the beans at a steady boil for about 10 minutes before you begin to cook them. Whether you soak or parboil, pour the water off from this step.
- In a six quart stock pot on medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until they smell really good and the pieces become translucent.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the beans, bacon, salt, chicken broth concentrate and one bay leaf and enough cool clean water to cover the beans by 2 inches.
- Heat the beans on medium until they come to a light boil then reduce the heat to low.
- Stir the beans occasionally and don’t let them get to a strong boil. Cook until done. I tell doneness by tasting - you could also spoon some out and smash it in your fingers. If it is smashy- through and through - they are done.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR The Secret to Perfect Old Fashioned Pinto Beans
- The bag will tell you that you can soak your beans OR you can parboil them. I usually soak. My friend, Mona, says she always just parboils for about 10 minutes. I think either works.
- The most important thing to understand is that good beans take some time- it doesn’t matter what method you use – they take time.
- Just as a general rule of thumb, 1 cup of dried beans makes 3 cups cooked. A usual serving is ½ cup.
- Most recipes indicate that it is ok to add salt during cooking, I usually do. I have heard plenty of old cooks say that this makes the beans tough. I have never noticed that – but just wanted you to be aware. My recipes says to add salt for cooking – cause, honey, beans with no salt – eww.
- Regarding the salt: you may have cooked beans yourself and had them to never completely cook up – and then blamed the salt. The truth is – you probably had old beans. Beans have a long shelf life – but it isn’t FOREVER. Use beans within about 2 years. They are better if you use them within a year.
- The second most important thing to understand is that good beans require you to build flavor. Just throwing in some bacon or chicken broth won’t work. You MUST season with salt before serving (and hopefully while cooking – but that is up to you). Beans with flavor are delicious. Beans without salt are YUCK!
- How firm you like beans is a matter of personal preference – some people like them really mushy, some people like them more firm. You decide how you like them.
- Beans are usually even better the next day – so refrigerate if possible and eat the next day.
- If you are vegetarian, simply leave off the bacon. You might want to try a few drops of liquid smoke.
TO COOK OLD FASHIONED PINTO BEANS IN THE CROCK POT.
- Soak the beans overnight in the crock of the crock pot.
- In the morning, pour off the water from the beans and discard it. Sort through the beans and remove any that don’t look right.
- Place beans back in the crock pot and cover with 2 inches of clean water and add garlic and onion (you don’t need to cook them first) – proceed with step 4 as listed above starting at “add the…”.
- Set crock pot on low and cook for 8-10 hours or until beans are tender.
TO COOK OLD FASHIONED PINTO BEANS IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Follow the instructions in the recipe above for soaking and then saute the onions and garlic in the bottom of your pressure cooker.
- Continue with step 4 above.
- Bring pressure cooker to high pressure and heat at high pressure for 25 minutes.
- Allow to slowly depressurize.
- When pressure is released, remove lid and check the beans for tenderness. If they aren’t quite as tender as you like, replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes at full pressure. Repeat checking beans until they are as tender as you like.
A VERSE TO SHARE
As I am writing this, I am contemplating a BIG HIKE I will do this coming weekend. By the time you read this, THE HIKE will be over – but for me, right now – the hike is in the future.
This weekend, my old college girlfriends and I are hiking Mt. LeConte. 5 miles. Straight up into the heavens. We will be staying overnight at a cabin at the top. No electric. No water. No cell phone towers. Just us and the great outdoors. Please God, no bears. I will only have one change of underwear.
The number of text messages that have chimed back and forth between NC, TN and KY is really unbelievable. We have been planning this trip for MONTHS. We have discussed EVERYTHING that can be discussed – shoes, socks, underwear, bras, back packs, food, water, broken toes.
We are hiking for our 50th birthdays. I mean, seriously, if you can brave a 5 mile high mountain, you can brave 50, right? Right!.
What does all of that have to do with a verse to share? A lot.
I’ve been praying about this trip too. Praying that I’ll have the stamina to make it. Praying that my junk knee will hold out. Praying that my clumsy self doesn’t tumble off the mountain. Praying that I make it to the top.
The main thing I need to remember is WHO has my back. Not only do I have a gang of 10 of my bestest friends in the whole world. I’ve got Jesus by my side. He walked on water, he saved the masses, he turned 2 loaves into 7, he healed the sick and most importantly, he rose from the dead – he saved us all. Therefore, there is no way I can be lost – right? My tiny little struggles are nothing that he can’t handle.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, I will be safely back home – hugging Mr. Loaves and Dishes, chatting with my kids on the phone, cooking up something in my kitchen and playing with my new puppy Bad Leroy Brown.
In times like this, I like to remember Psalm 32 Verse 8. One translation:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you”.
Either one, I’ll take it Lord. Amen.