Beans, beans, they're good for your heart...
Y'all know the rest, I'm sure. As a Southerner, I like my fair share of beans. Sadly, unlike most Southerners, I do NOT like lima beans or butter beans, which are just GIGANTIC lima beans, but are kind of off-white instead of the standard "lima green".
I LOVE black-eyed peas, any sort of "white" beans like navy beans or Great Northern beans, but I also love pinto beans. Some people associate pinto beans more with Mexican food (they're "the" bean in refried beans), but pinto beans are also a truly Southern dish.
You CAN buy them canned, but most people prefer to buy them dried and control the seasonings. Plus, dried beans are way cheaper! As with my black-eyed peas, cooking dried pinto beans is easy as long as you soak the dried beans overnight, and remember to use your slow-cooker!
As always with Southern beans, the flavor comes from some good old-fashioned pork. Vegetarians and vegans can easily get around this by using something like a mushroom base or just omitting the pork completely!
Slow-Cooker Pinto Beans
adapted from Paula Deen
1 lb dry pinto beans
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 lb salt pork, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
Rinse and sort the beans, removing any stones or other "non-bean entities". Drain, cover with fresh cold water, and soak overnight. I like to soak my beans IN the slow-cooker. Then, the next morning, I simply drain the beans, give the slow-cooker pot a quick rinse, and go from there. No extra dishes to clean!
Add the onion, bay leaf and 4 cups of water. Stir to combine, then cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours, or LOW for 7-8 hours or until the beans are tender.
Season with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Remove 1 cup of beans, mash with a fork, and return to the slow cooker. Serve hot.
If you have lots of extra beans - they freeze REALLY well!