Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pinto beans, three ways

It doesn't take much to please me. Give me a big, steaming bowl of charra beans, borracho beans or even plain, porky pinto beans and I will be delighted.


Beans were a big part of my diet growing up. At least once a week, we’d have beans for supper, either in the guise of bean salad or in big bowls served with a side of cornbread or tortillas. Sometimes it would be black beans and sometimes it would be navy beans but our core staple was pinto beans. As my mom says, “Pinto beans are close to a perfect food.”

Mom would soak them overnight and slow cook them all day with garlic, onions, spices and her secret ingredient—jalapeno juice. She’d add pork if it was available, but it was the jalapeno juice that gave her beans their fantastic flavor.

When I was little, I figured that we ate beans all the time because we were poor. But when our economic situation turned for the better we continued to eat beans. Why? Because we just enjoyed eating them so much.

I wasn’t alone in loving these beans; I had a friend who claimed them as her favorite food as well and she was known for being a picky eater, especially when it came to eating at our house. See, my mom was a health-food nut who had a reputation of being quite liberal with the wheat germ. And (it seemed) that not a dish was prepared without the addition of the cardboard-flavored sawdust stuff. (I have to admit, however, I actually enjoy wheat germ now that I'm more sophisticated, but that will just be our secret.)

I hated it—but since she was my mom, unless I wanted to starve I had to eat everything she gave me. My particular friend, however, had the luxury of not eating one of mom’s wheat-germ concoctions. Without fail, she refused to touch just about everything my mom offered.

Except for mom’s pinto beans.

We couldn’t’ figure out why that was the only thing my friend would eat until she revealed her reason: it was just about the only thing my mom made that was wheat-germ free!

Beans are still one of my favorite meals. I make them a bit different from my mom but I don’t know if my method, which entails more work, is superior to hers or not.

Being a fan of a the addition of meat for flavor, I always cook my beans with a slab of salt pork. I also add a puree of cooked bacon, tomatoes and cilantro at the end, and a bottle of beer if I’m feeling particularly decadent. But to be honest, a simple pot of pintos made in her method is equally delicious; especially with a thick wedge of cornbread that will not only soak up the juice but will also pair with the beans to make a complete protein.

I enjoy making a pot on Sunday afternoons, which makes for a satisfying Sunday supper. Leftovers are also welcome for easy lunches or quick mid-week dinners, especially since these beans are even better the next day.

But the best thing about eating beans is the joy they bring with both little effort and little price. And they fill up both my belly and my heart, with good, warm feelings of health, love and home. They are my comfort food.

Pinto beans three ways

Big pot of porky pinto beans
Ingredients
1 pound of pinto beans (2 cups)
1/4 tablespoons of minced garlic (3 large cloves)
1 cup diced onion (1/2 of a medium-sized onion)
1/4 cup of jalapeno juice (from canned jalapenos)
1/4 pound of salt pork (I find this near the bacon at my grocery store)
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Rinse and sort your beans
2. First soak the beans. You can either cover the beans with one inch of water and soak overnight or bring water to a boil, remove from heat and cover for one hour.
3. Drain the beans and cover with seven cups of fresh water.
4. Add to the pot the garlic, onion, jalapeno juice and salt pork.
5. Bring pot to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to a simmer, stir occasionally.
6. After about an hour, beans should be tender enough to eat (depending on the freshness of the beans). If not tender enough, continue cooking, checking on the beans every 15 minutes until desired texture.
7. Remove salt pork and serve.

Frijoles a la charra
Ingredients:
6 cups of cooked pinto beans still in its juice. (see above)
4 slices of bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes or one 14 oz. canned, diced tomatoes with sauce
3 jalapenos, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped
1 cup of chopped cilantro

Method:
1. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp.
2. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, chipotles and cilantro to the skillet, and cook on medium for 10 minutes.
3. Let tomato-bacon mixture cool, add one cup of bean juice (or water) and then puree.
4. Stir puree into beans and let simmer together for 20 minutes.
5. Alternatively, if you prefer a chunkier texture, you could skip the puree step and add the tomato-bacon mixture straight to the bean pot.

Borracho beans
Ingredients:
1 big pot (6 cups) of frijoles a la charra (see above)
1 12 oz. bottle of dark beer, such as Modelo Negro.

Method:
Add bottle of beer to pot, stir and cook for ten minutes.

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95 comments:

Kelly said...

I'm inspired - I'm going to make pinto beans this sunday! As a vegetarian, I favor your mom's recipe, but I'm going to add the cornbread idea from yours 'to complete the protein' as you say.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Well, it must be the weather, but the Texan in me has been thinking about Charro beans. However, your porky pinto beans look great! Thanks for the tip about the jalepeno juice. I've never heard that one.

lisaiscooking said...

Pinto bean may indeed be a perfect food! There's so much going on nutritionally in such a little item. Your beans look fantastic.

Monica said...

Too fun! I just picked up a bag of dry pinto beans the other day. I'm DEFINITELY making these Sunday with cornbread.

Amy C Evans said...

Mmm, beans. I have a sack of Christmas limas in my cupboard that I think I'll set out to soak tonight. I have to say, though, that refried black beans are personal fave. Mmmm, lard ;)

Zora said...

Mmm--great timing! I just got back from NM with a Taos Pueblo clay bean pot and a few bags of the new season Colorado pintos...looking forward to a batch. I will have to try the bacon-tomato slurry--genius!

Tommy said...

I completely understand your bean fixation. Lately I have been on a cassoulet kick.

Upon reflection, it's not the sausage or the duck in the cassoulet that makes it irresistable to some, but the white beans. I'll have to make it using pinto beans next time round.

Quick question. Does Mexican cooking utilize thyme much ? Thyme & beans are a great match.

Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady") said...

Oh you and my mom would get on like a house a-fire! I sometimes thought I had to be adopted growing up because ALL my family (sans ME of course) LOVED a big bowl of pinto beans cooked with pork and onions with either cornbread or the"fancy-dancy" version called Spoonbread. I hated both. I'm still not a big corn bread person (it's a texture thing) but I do like beans now. Spoonbread I believe was made using corn flour vs. corn meal and was baked in a bowl and "spooned" out. It was sweet and usually served with either maple syrup or molasses.

As an adult, I finally found I LOVE black beans! And refried are great if they are made and seasoned properly. I'm going to send your recipes to my mom -she'll enjoy them for sure, especially this time of year when she is also baking pumpkin and zuchinni breads.

Mike said...

Pappasitos "is what is is"...not the same as it was circa 1990 or so....but one thing is unchanged...those charra beans with two heaping spoons of their rice mixed in is something I look forward to at each visit.

EAT! said...

We do love beans in our house. At least most of us do. I like how they can be added to almost any type of cuisine - Italian, Mexican, Greek. The possibilities are endless.

Heather B said...

As a Texan too, I grew up eating a lot of pinto beans. Usually with cornbread. Always with cheese! Yum. This makes me want to fix a big batch right now!

Kassi said...

I love beans also. Thanks for sharing. For some reason this makes me crave my dad's stewed tomatoes and rice. guess its all the talk of poor food. Did you ever eat at Merida's? They had the best refried black beans, one day I'd like to replicate them.

Bee said...

Not a week goes by that we don't have beans in some form. I've already had black bean soup and a three bean chili this week -- partly for health reasons, and mostly because we just like them. I'm always on the look-out for the ultimate charro beans. As you say, they are the ultimate comfort food -- and even better when the weather is dank and dark.

Nicole said...

Mmmmmm...beans and cornbread! Just doesn't get any better than that!

Cheryl A said...

Hmm, you are the second person lately to tell me to puree the bacon with tomatoes and seasonings and add back in. I usually just start with the bacon and add everything to cook. I must try this new technique, although the Monster will be disappointed not to find the chunks of bacon.

Sara said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I've tried to make beans using dried beans several times and have pretty much given up. They've been bland and gross and sometimes not cooked through. I've been really disappointed because I love eating them when I'm out here in Texas (sorry to rub it in...yes I live in Austin where the eating is fabulous!). Can't wait to give one (or all!) of your recipes a try.

Homesick Texan said...

Kelly--Yep, the two make a complete protein and is very vegetarian friendly if you don't use bacon grease!

Just a Plane Ride Away--I hadn't ever heard of it either until I was talking to her about her beans the other day. What a great tip!

Lisa is Cooking--Beyond being so nutritious, they're also so creamy, soft and flavorful.

Monica--And that's the best cool-weather meal!

Amy--I wouldn't say no to some refried black beans made with lard!

Zora--Oh! A bean pot! You know, I have never cooked beans in one. Does it make the beans taste better?

Tommy--I don't think it uses much thyme, or rather I've never seen any recipes that call for it. I could be mistaken, however.

Cheri--Thanks for reminding me--I should post a spoonbread recipe someday--I love that stuff! And black beans are pretty wonderful, too.

Mike--I can't remember the last time I ate a Pappasitos, but good to know their wonderful beans still taste good.

Eat!--I know, isn't it cool how you find them in cuisines from all over the world?

Heather B.--Cheese goes great with pinto beans. I also like sour cream.

Kassi--No, I never did eat at Merida's that I can recall. Where is it?

Bee--I always forget how much I love them until fall rolls around, and then it's just about all I eat.

Nicole--Nope, it sure doesn't!

Cheryl A--You don't have to puree it if the Monster prefers it chunky. Or you could do half and half.

Sara--That might have been the beans fault. When they're too old, it takes forever for them to cook properly. But these have a lot of flavor.

Jill of All Trades said...

Uh YUM...I'm going to cook some pintos this weekend!

jana said...

We also have beans at least once a month. My family loves them no matter how they're prepared. My husband thinks he's funny, though, when he says, "this must be really hard to make, since we don't have them enough!"

Anonymous said...

i thought adding jalepeno juice to pinto beans was MY secret :)

honestly, beans & cornbread were a staple during my starving college student days. it really doesn't get any better.

Gloria Chadwick said...

Pinto beans go so well with everything Tex-Mex. Just add some rice and guacamole to your plate and you're good to go.

Anonymous said...

I have been lurking in the background here for several months. I searched the blog for Pinto Beans when I first found you and did not find what I was looking for. But after reading many of your recipes I KNEW you would come up with the pinto beans my mom always served and we all loved so much. One uncle would come to visit, walk in the door, give out a few kisses and head for the stove. I don't ever remember him not finding pinto beans there. I particularly favor the cornbread side, but we'd often have a bowl of pintos with tacos or enchiladas as well. I absolutely love your blog...I can smell my mom's kitchen every time I come here!

For some reason your comments won't let me sign in to my google account, so I'm posting anonymous instead, hope this works.

Leigh

Kalyn said...

I love pinto beans! (And consider yourself lucky. My mom put bulgar in everything. And this was way before bulgar was even remotely trendy. We kids would lift our eyebrows and say "Is there bulgar in this casserole?")

Kassi said...

Merida's is right down the street from the original Ninfa's, near Guadalupe Plaza. Its Yucatan style food. Their signature thing is enchiladas al carbon and if you're in the know, you order their salsa especial when they bring the chips and salsa. You should try it next time you're in Houston. Its the instead of Ninfa's secret.

Marlo said...

Hmmm.....my mother sent this to me....we think I'm the "picky" eater friend you were talking about....I remember that SOO WELL! But hey, my mom didn't help the situation by showing me where she had giant cinnamon flavored gummy bears stashed in her car every time we pulled up for a weekend at your house. Would you choose wheat germ laden food over cinnamon gummy bears if you had the choice back then?

tbsamsel said...

Ahh! Frijoles.. Pintos are great, but try some frijoles rosados (pink beans.. Goya sells 'em.) Or some frijoles bayos.. Valle Verde sells these..

And Food Lion has gotten hep to the movement of latinos in the mid-Atlantic.. rice from Morelos, etc.

tbsamsel said...

Ahh, frijoles. Y'all ought to try frijoles rosados (pink beans) & frijoles bayos.. now being sold in Food Lions in the mid-Atlantic..

along with an arborio type rice from Morelos.

tbsamsel said...

PS:
I've been putting epazote in all my pots of frijoles for at least 10 years..

Buen provecho.

Olivia said...

I wish I loved beans! Both my parents do and would make 16-bean soups all winter long to have on hand for those cuddle up indoors days.

But sadly I don't. Sometimes I'll be grown up and eat the pinto beans in chili while picking out the kidney beans, or eat them in burritos but only because of the Mexican spices and the hotness. The best way of getting pulses down my gullet is with dhal, in which split peas are completely melted, boiled with curry powder, garlic, chili, and then topped off with cumin seeds and garlic fried to a crisp which both add that magical aroma.

twobarkingdogs said...

Just don't forget the Beano!

Homesick Texan said...

Jill--Enjoy!

Jana--Perhaps you should make them more often!

Anon--Ha! And I agree, it doesn't get much better than beans and cornbread.

Gloria--Oh yes, we can't forget the guacamole, can we?

Leigh--What a lovely memory! And I have to say that's probably the highest praise I've ever received--glad this site reminds me of your mother's kitchen.

Kalyn--You know, I don't think I've ever had bulgar. The name alone has always been a bit off putting.

Kassi--Of course! I know that place though I don't think I've ever eaten there. But that will change the next time I'm in town. Thanks for letting me know!

Marlo--Howdy! And yes, you are indeed the "picky" eater! Good to hear from you! And no, I can't blame you for choosing cinnamon gummy bears over wheat germ--what kid wouldn't? Though I actually have a jar of wheat germ in my fridge right now--it's not so bad over vanilla yogurt--kind of nutty.

TBSamsel--I'll keep a look out for these beans and rice, and I put epazote in my black beans but not others--sounds like I'll have to remedy that soon!

Olivia--Mmm, I love dhal--so spicy and smooth! I just may have to make a pot!

Twobarkingdogs--Nope, Beano is a must! Though I find if you soak the beans before cooking them, it helps with any digestive issues.

O-Dub said...

Beans made this way are one of my favorite foods. I often warm up some leftovers for breakfast. I add a ham hock to mine (plus a few other things) then at the end shred the ham hock. Makes for a meatier dish.

JayBob said...

The Holy Trinity of frijoles.Makes me homesick, I think I'll head to Dallas for turkey day to see my lil' sis'. Ya'll might want to check out a cook book called the El Paso Chili Co. Texas Border Cook Book. Now, if I can find a Robert Earl Keen cd for the road trip.

JayBob said...

O-Dub,

Good call on the hock. I put'em in mine, too.


Anyone got a good recipe for honest Texas barbecue sauce? I need some for brisket.

If ya'll are needin' a for fix some Lonestar music,I was turned on to a guy named Hayes Carll at my local indy music joint. Great stuff. It has nuances of Robert Earl Keen, Steve Earl and Lyle Lovett. Check it out!

kenneth said...

excellent- I'll be cooking one of your recipes tomorrow

quick question: do you ever put epazote in your beans? I only use it every once in a while, but that beano comment above reminded me that some people don't have ...uhh, problems, if they're eating frijoles that have epazote. . .

thanks

Cynthia said...

I too like a lot of beans and thanks for sharing your recipes.

Greg said...

It has been proven that eating beans often (hey they are great for you) reduces ones tendency to have "after effects" from them.

Christina said...

This fellow homesick Texan is seriously missing a big pot of beans and cornbread. There's nothing better on a cold rainy day than a big pot of beans to make the kitchen warm and fragrant.

She sure is strange! said...

YUUUM! I'll have to try this next weekend(or sooner if I can), my husband will be ecstatic!!!

Tonight I used your chili gravy recipe(from your cheese enchiladas) in a comfort casserole with copious cheese, corn tortillas, and refried beans. The sauce was the best part!

Mike Bierschenk said...

Thanks so much! I remember searching a while back for a good frijoles a la charra recipe, without success. But I made your version tonight (without the salt pork, which I just didn't have), and they were stupendous, and perfect. So thanks, very much.

Shannon said...

Must be on the same wave length, I made a huge pot of beans (15 bean soup but it does have pinto beans) and a double batch of corn bread. YUM! The only problem with four sons the inevitable jokes about gas.

Kolbi said...

I just made a big pot of chili and another of campfire beans (mixed beans with ground beef, bacon, and onions in a yummy sweet and spicy bbq sauce) after reading your post. I have enough for several days now and more in the freezer! Yum!

Sheila said...

Ok, now I am running to the kitchen to put some beans on to soak. I make mine with the same spices Lone Star Cafe in Austin uses, then I do what my mama does, about 30 minutes before they're done, I add 7-Up. Mama swears it helps kill some of the gas. I just like the hint of flavor it gives the beans.

glutenfreeforgood said...

Great post! Nothing better than pinto beans and corn bread (with maple syrup). Beans are such an inexpensive and healthy way to eat. Love your blog!
Melissa

Melissa said...

Dumb question but do you add the salt pork in one big chunk, like right out of the package, or do you cut it up in smaller pieces?

Anonymous said...

When I was in high school my Texan family had the misfortune of moving to Indiana. One of the first times my now husband (native-born Yankee, poor thing) ate dinner at our house, my mother served pinto beans, fluffy white rice and cornbread - a staple in our home. Years later my husband admitted that he was waiting for "the rest of dinner" to come out. He had never heard of "just beans" for dinner! Now we're all happily living back in Texas, including my poor Yankee husband.

eleonora said...

Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

Suzer said...

When are you going to publish a cookbook so I can just pull ya off my shelf!

Anonymous said...

Howdy, HSTex,

I've never tried a dark beer in mis frijoles borrachos. Rather, I always use a watery American Lager. Pero, as I write, I sit beneath my favorite neon sign (Negra Modelo) and contemplate whether the pot of borrachos I made today would be better with a darker beer...
Still, considering my neon decor, I can't complain about your ingedient choice. Buenas dias!
-Marcos Flores :-)

Homesick Texan said...

O-Dub--I like to use ham hocks, too. And you're right as that way you get some ham meat in the beans as well.

JayBob--Thanks for the tip--I'll have to check out that book. And I'm not familiar with Hayes Carl but will definitely check him out. I don't use barbecue sauce but my uncle does--I'll ask him for his recipe--it's spicy!

Kenneth--I put it in my black beans but I haven't put it into my pintos. I'll have to try that sometime. And I'd forgotten that it was supposed to prevent digestive issues. Thanks for the reminder!

Cynthia--You're very welcome!

Greg--Oh, so that's the secret!

Christina--Nope, there sure isn't!

She Sure is strange--Isn't that sauce awesome? I can eat it by the bucket!

Mike Bierschenk--Thank you so much! I'm glad y'all enjoyed them!

Shannon--Ah, yes. That famous poem!

Kolbi--Campfire beans sound delicious! I'll have to make some of those soon!

Sheila--I never heard of that before but it sounds like a pretty neat trick!

Glutenfreeforgood--I agree, I love how tasty and inexpensive beans are. One pot can last several days!

Melissa--I leave it in one big chunk so I can remove it. Some people cube it and leave it in the pot. It's up to you!

Anon--What a funny story!

Eleonora--Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.

Suzer--Ha! We'll just have to see about that!

Marcos--I've always used dark beer, so I don't know if it's better or not! Buenas dias to you, senor!

Tommy said...

Had you ever considered making any of these recipes using canned beans?

Saves the soaking, reduces cooking time immensely therefore making it a real easy side dish to make.

Just a thought.

Tommy said...

I saw your response to Suzer's question about when you would publish a cookbook.

HA, We'll just have to see ?

I hope that means you are planning on doing so. Jeez a person who has your passion for this type of cooking and food deserves a bestseller in the very least.

I think you would be able to crank a very credible and desireable cookbook and I sincerely mean that.

If I see one more Racheal Ray cookbook I'm gonna lose it.

Anonymous said...

MMM...I too grew up eating pinto beans. I remember one particular long winter when my dad was "on strike" for 7 months, we had beans and rice, the cajun way, every day for 2 weeks straight. There was no free food offered by the government for anyone on strike so a 35 cent bag of beans and a 25 cent bag of rice was a good deal for a few meals. You couldnt eat for much less than that! One Sunday we came home from church and found a big paper sack full of food on the porch...there was ham and sausage...and beans! We were glad for the addition of meat, wow, what a treat!
Needless to say we still enjoy beans the way mom always cooked them but I cannot eat a bowl without the thought of the time we had to eat them ,but thankfully so, for days on end.

Allie said...

A good pot of pinto beans "doctored" up with a little salsa and served along side a big, warm wedge of corn bread hot out of a black iron skillet is DEFINATELY comfort food for this native Texan!! My grandmother made at least one skillet of cornbread every day.....and the grand kids didn't have to wait until a meal to have a slice :D Thanks for bringing back a wonderful memory!!
~Allie

Kassi said...

"we had beans and rice, the cajun way, "

That makes my mouth water. My family also cooked the cajun way. Though my dad loved mexican food and experimenting in the kitchen, astoundingly he never tried his hand at making it.

but the depression era cooking he learned from his parents- amazing.

mike said...

Your thoughts on Rick Bayless perhaps becoming the White House chef ???

Homesick Texan said...

Tommy--Oh, sure--when I'm in a hurry. But I prefer to cook my beans from the beginning. As for the book--many thanks! Y'all be the first to know!

Anon--What a poignant story. Did y'all ever find out who left the bag of ham, sausage and beans on your porch?

Allie--A skillet a day? My, my!

Kassi--It sounds like I need to learn how to make them the Cajun way.

Mike--It sounds great! I hope they plant an organic garden on the lawn, too!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I've never seen a more beautiful bowl of beans than this.

Jocelyn said...

The first 20 years of my life were spent being Texan, and I still remember my mom hankering for and cooking pinto beans, although I never understood it. In my adult life, my palate has come to appreciate more variety, and I really do appreciate them. Especially now that I live in Louisiana, where pintos are virtually unheard of and red kidney beans are king. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipes I can't wait to try.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this!

I hadn't found a simple bean recipe i liked before now. I've made this one twice already and plan to make more this weekend.

Mishy said...

As a Southerner.... these ARE a staple of life.

As an adult I have learned that it is not necessary to soak the pintos overnight. I bring mine to a boil, turn off the fire, cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain the H20, add my seasonings then simmer for as long as possible. The longer you simmer the thicker the juice. I add turkey kielbasa sausage the last 45 minutes of cooking and serve over rice with hush puppies to finish it all off.

They are always better the next day too.

Sara said...

Hi again! Have you ever made these in a slow cooker? Any thoughts on cooking times?

Homesick Texan said...

Sara--IK don't have a slow cooker (a situation I aim to remedy soon!) but I would think you could leave it while at work and they'd be fine. Maybe not soak them beforehand so they don't get too mush. Anyone else have experience cooking beans in a slow cooker?

Sara said...

Cool! Thanks for the input. I'm giving it a try today, so if it works, I'll let you know what I did. Regarding the slow cooker - as a frequent slow cooker user, I'll tell you, they've come a long way! If I could go out today and get my dream slow cooker, I would get one with a timer to keep things warm after it's done cooking, in case I'm late getting home. Also, I would get one of the newer models that fits and includes 2 or 3 sizes of liners that nest for easy storage.

Sara said...

Hi. Yum! Your recipe was fantastic. Thanks for sharing. For the crockpot method I soaked the beans for a full day. Then I simmered them for about 40 minutes on the stove, only because I used a hambone I already had rather than salt pork. The bone wouldn't fit in my crockpot. After the beans spent the night in the fridge, I warmed them on low 8 hours in the crockpot. Perfect! Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever added epazote? It makes the beans really smooth - almost creamy. And I must say...I'm with your mom. My favorite way is to soak the pintos overnight, then slow cook them all day while I'm at work, with some onion, epazote, and cumin. They always come out perfectly! But now I'm going to have to make some cornbread to go with it

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

This is wonderful! I made Borracho beans yesterday, starting them about 5:30 with the intention of leaving them in the crock pot overnight. After things started heating up and becoming quite aromatic, I realized that there was no way I would be waiting that long for a taste! So I dumped the lot into a pot and simmered on the stove for a couple of hours. We enjoyed ours with your flour tortillas. Can't wait to eat the leftovers today!

Dana Harris said...

Making carnitas for party and a search led me to your site. As a fellow homesick Texan in the capsizing media (raised in Fort Worth, now in Los Angeles), your site is balm for the soul. And right now, I could use a lot of balm.

Beans are soaking as I type. Thanks again -- Dana

Nancy said...

Hi there! I recently moved to the San Fran bay area from Austin. Your posts are the best! They make me homesick though : ( Thanks for the different recipes for a homesick Austinite.

Anonymous said...

Here is a trick I tried this year that requires a "leap of faith" by any self respecting Southern bean-eater: add about a tablespoon of ginger (the "wet" kind sold in a jar for chinese and indian cuisine). It really gives a subtle lift, hard to describe, but very very nice....

Dr. Food said...

I found your blog from the Bon Appetit slideshow--I'm so glad I did! I love beans! And I miss just beans for dinner--I've always been the glass is full of beans kinda gal!

Anonymous said...

When I was a young girl, my mother always made pinto beans at the end of the month. It wasn't until I had a family of my own that I realized money must have been tight and the beans made an inexpensive meal. I have always eaten mine smashed with fresh chopped red onions on top and a wedge of cornbread on the side (made in an iron skillet, of course).

Shevaun said...

I made these beans for a Tex-Mex dinner party I hosted recently, and they were a hit. Sadly, I had to leave out the pork, since some of my guests were vegetarians. Although I missed that flavor in every bite, they were still amazing. They reminded me of the "charro beans" that I love at Pappasitos.

I also made your rice and chili gravy for enchiladas, and they were equally tasty. I have a feeling I'm going to be coming back here often for a taste of home. :)

David Mills said...

I don't soak my beans; I just cook them until they're done. They seem more flavorful. I don't put the salt pork in until the end of the first hour, as it seems to affect the tenderness to which they'll cook.

I use chili powder (red!), but will have to try the jalapeno juice.

I put a whole onion in then fish it out when done.

The second or third day (if they last that long) I mix in a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes.

David Mills

Anonymous said...

These Frijoles a la charra are dynamite beans! I used the epazole seasoning suggested in one of the comments here to reduce the problem of "digestive issues". Still had digestive issues, but it was worth it.

Janet in Houston

Joan said...

So here I am, a long way away from my Colorado home, sitting on a balcony overlooking the beach at South Padre Island, and eating my mom's pinto beans with some jalapeno cornbread.

She does not use your recipe. I use your recipe. And with that recipe I make some awesome, awesome pinto beans.

But you know, as a homesick Texan most weeks out of the year, there's NOTHING better than the beans your mom makes. (That's why yours are so good.) Maybe it is because I am not required to do the cooking right now. Who knows.

But your know, Texas moms just make really good beans. And they make them with love. So I will go back to Colorado and make those yummy beans with your recipe (and nachos with all those jalapenos left in the jar). And my kids will think those are the best pinto beans in the world.

But I will remember my mom's beans eaten on this hot 4th of July day, and I will forever be a homesick Texan.

Anonymous said...

I found your recipe this week on Serious Eats and make it today-- delicious!! I left out the chipotles and may have forgotten to saute the tomatoes and jalapenos, but since both were canned I'm not sure it mattered. Beans were never a childhood tradition for me, but they will definitely be a part of my own traditions now. I can't wait to serve this at our watch party tonight. Thanks for sharing!

ressa said...

Love, love, love your site!
Growing up with boiled beans of all kind...Pinto, Great Northern, Butter...seasoned just right and servied with chopped raw onion, corn bread from our cast iron corncob shaped pan or cast iron skillet, AND fried potatoes. Ummmmm. Burned many a pot trying to cook them in the evening while working. Decided it would be a Sunday dinner.
I was born in Indians, raised in Ca. While in Northern Michigan found an 'ol boy from Ok. who also liked his boiled beans...but his wife, a local, only knew of baked beans and thought our favorite was sick. I think this must have carried forward from the dust bowl era. Not just from Texas, but from the Southern folks in general.

Hurry with that cook book girl.

Ressa

Vikki said...

I just love your blog, I'm not homesick but I am a Texan. Yes we ate lots of beans when I was growing up. We had beans and cornbread of course, but we had beans and taters just as often. Dip those fries in that bean juice.... that's some good stuff.

My mom always put a ham bone in her beans. Not something I like very much. I prefer bacon. I like jalapenos in mine, but I never though about just adding the juice. Hug your mom for me, that sound fabulous.

Of all the ways I've ever eaten beans, my favorite is to heat up some left over beans in a skillet with a bit of water, a spoon or too of good salsa and then crack an egg on top. Cover and cook until the egg is just set. Spoon it all in a bowl and break the yoke and mix it all in the beans. Guaranteed to keep you going all day.

Laura said...

This is a MILLION years old and you don't even have to post it if you don't want, but I just wanted to say thanks for the frijoles a la charra recipe. I've never found a recipe for them that quite satisfied my craving, and this is IT. The flavor was EXACTLY what I was hoping!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Laura--So happy you found and enjoyed the recipe!

Anonymous said...

how many does this serve?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--It makes about 10-12 servings

sweet alyssum said...

could you elaborate on this bean salad?

Laura said...

Just what this displaced Texan was craving! I added an extra chipotle pepper and some more adobo sauce for a hotter, smokier flavor. Really delicious, and a huge hit with all of my California friends.

Thanks so much!

Audrey Bean said...

The beans sound delicious, and easy to convert to a vegetarian dish.

Just a note--the need to have "complementary proteins" or "complete protein" is a myth.

angiemarie1216 said...

I want to make the borracho beans tomorrow. Since the first recipe calls for 2 cups and the borracho recipe calls for 6 cups, I just multiplied the other ingredients by 3. Does this sound right to y'all? I just thought 3 cups of onion sounds like a lot (even though I love onion!). I just want to make sure as I will be cooking for a bunch of people. Thanks!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anglemarie--The first recipe calls for 2 cups of dried beans. Once they're cooked, you should have about 6 cups cooked beans and enough for the other recipe. There's no need to multiply the first recipe, unless you're cooking for more than 10-12 people.

kpaulsen said...

I also grew up with pinto beans as a staple (San Antonio!). And even after my family moved "up North" (Oklahoma and Kansas), we always managed to have pinto beans as our Sunday supper a couple times a month.

I usually make mine with just onion, garlic and bacon and serve with cornbread, to which my Yankee husband exclaims, "But where's the *meat*?" So I'll usually concede and make him a little bowl with leftover shredded smoked brisket it in it. I'll only eat the authentic stuff though!

ShirlinHI said...

Thank you.
Mmm, my kitchen smells wonderful. I've been hungry for pinto beans for a week and your recipes inspired me to try putting the jalapeno juice in the pot along with the jalapenos I always use. That fresh oregano and cilantro from our garden make it even more heavenly.

Amy said...

These pintos are simmering away on my stove, and my house smells heavenly. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to wait another six hours for them to get done! Thanks for feeding my addiction, Pam!

Margie said...

My favorite meal--pinto beans, cornbread, and onion.

One of the most best times in my life was when my sister, niece, and I stopped in a log cabin restaurant in north Arkansas. Snow was beginning to fall, and we wanted to eat a bite before we got out of the mountains. THe fireplace was glowing, soft music was playing, and our meal was beans, bread, and onion. When I'm very old and limited to a rocking chair for movement, that will be one of my favorite memories.

More Cowbell said...

This reminds me of the way I do lentils, building in more flavor/texture with each succeeding dish. Only I do mine with curry spices, but there really is a similarity. I even do them refried with ghee. ;)

So many similarities across cuisines. I really love your blog.

margaret said...

I made these in the slow cooker and they turned out great. I didn't soak them. I started the on low for about 6 hours and the did the last hour on high. Used the beans for frijoles a la charra and they were so good! Fantastic recipe!

Anonymous said...

I never comment on sites, but these frijoles a la charra were fantastic. The salt pork and jalapeno juice are the keys, and I never would have thought of using either. Funny, I found this site as I was trying to find a way to replicate the beans at Pappasitos, which several other folks have mentioned in the comments. This recipe may even be better than theirs. Thanks!

On a semi-related note, Pappasitos uses a pineapple and soy sauce marinade for their beef and chicken. Not sure what else they do to make it so darn tasty, but it's a good start.

And I love the way they fry their tortilla chips in coconut oil, which gives them a very unique and delicious flavor. Now if I could only replicate their salsa...

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