Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pinto Beans & Ham


I'm from the South...Texas to be exact.  I grew up eating pinto beans and ham.  If my mom asked me what I wanted for dinner, I would usually say beans.  That means a big simmering pot of pinto beans with chunks of ham.  It's salty and delicious.  My mom walked me through the process so I could make some for my family last night.

Ingredients:

1 bag dried pinto beans
1/2 package bacon (about 5 slices), sliced into pieces
1 white onion, diced
8 jarred sliced jalapeno peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups water
1 lb ham, cut into small chunks 
pepper
kosher salt
Tabasco pepper sauce (optional)

Toppings:
diced white onion
diced tomatoes
cooked bacon

Rinse the beans and discard of any broken pieces or strange debris.  Add beans to a large bowl and cover completely with water (at least 2 inches above beans).  Let them sit on the counter for the day, at least 6-8 hours.

If you don't have all day to wait for them to soak, you can do the quick soak method, which only takes a little over an hour.  Rinse the beans and discard of any broken pieces or strange debris.  In a large stock pot over high heat, add the beans and cover with about 4 cups of water.  Bring to a rapid boil and let boil for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour.  

When you are ready to cook the beans, drain the water and rinse them again.  Set aside.  In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat, add the sliced bacon and cook until crispy.  Remove the bacon and set aside for later.  Add the onion, garlic, and jalapenos.  Cook for a few minutes.  Add the beans, diced ham, 8 cups water, and pepper to the pot.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low heat.  Cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until beans are nice and tender, stirring occasionally.  Taste for seasoning (so you will know how much salt to add since ham is so salty).  Add more salt and black pepper, if needed.  You can also add the Tabasco pepper sauce now, if desired.

Ladle up some beans in a big soup bowl and top with diced onion, tomatoes, and crispy bacon...or not.  It's completely optional, but that's the way I prefer it.  Serve with some cornbread to help soak up all that good bean juice.  Enjoy! 


By the way, my husband said "these are REALLY good...we should eat these every night...it would help us lose weight, right?"   

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