Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pinto beans

This is not the world's greatest photo -- I was much more interested in eating these beans than in finding my tripod. By the time we sat down to dinner, the kitchen had been full of heavenly smells for most of the afternoon. It has turned cold here in Budapest (overnight lows of 5°C and daytime highs of 15°C), and we are slowly moving from our summer repertoire of salads and cold meals to our winter repertoire of beans, soups and stews. 

These pinto beans are cooked with (us? vegetarian? not for years!) bacon, which renders them indescribably thick and tasty. You can leave as much liquid as you want in the pot, and serve these as a soup or as beans on their own. 

(The biscuits in the photo? They are Pioneer Woman's bacon-cheddar-onion biscuits. Don't make them. You'll never want to eat anything else again.)

Pinto beans

What you need (3-4 servings):
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 2-3 slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch squares
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • sour cream (optional)
What you do:
  • Rinse the beans under cold water, picking out any small stones. Place the beans in a large, heavy pot and cover with 1-2 inches of cold water. Add the bacon. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and then simmer (covered) for ~2 hours (or until the beans are just soft). During the cooking time, stir occasionally and add water if the water level falls below the bean level.
  • Once the beans are cooked, add salt and black pepper to taste. I usually add a pinch of salt and 1 tsp black pepper.
  • Serve with sour cream (optional) and some sort of biscuit or bread.

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