Monday, November 10, 2008

Deep South Pinto Beans and Rice

Pinto beans, slow cooked with ham, onion, celery and jalapenos, served over rice with a side of collard greens and hoecakes. Now that is some good eatin'!
Pinto beans, slow cooked with ham, onion, celery and jalapenos, served over rice with a side of collard greens and hoecakes. Now that is some good eatin'!

Deep South Pintos and Rice

Though pinto beans may not really be a classic Southern recipe for this part of The Deep South, that doesn't make them any less popular as a southern dish. Yes, we are all about the red beans and rice down this way for sure, and instead of the classic pintos often made in other areas of the South, I made this version of pintos much like my own homemade red beans and rice, but with the addition of a little Tex-Mex flavor by using jalapenos in place of the usual sweet green bell pepper and a few other flavor boosters.

Of course, never one to leave things alone much, we southerners also love to garnish our pinto beans with a tablespoon or two of Chow Chow - a southern relish made of cabbage or sometimes green tomatoes, onion, peppers, often hot, in a vinegary sweet syrup. It's a perfect garnish for just about any bean, but especially endeared to pintos although pickled onions are a favorite too.

Ham, andouille or smoked sausage, or bacon all work for flavoring, and certainly if you have a ham bone, by all means use it! Add in the veggies and saute.

Add the beans, chicken base, jalapenos and juice, salsa and pepper and let it stew for couple hours, or pour it all into a crockpot and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.

Pintos are a nice change of pace and a delicious heart warming pot of beans.  Scoop them over hot, cooked rice and serve with hot buttered flour tortillas, yeast rolls or better yet, a big slice of hot buttered southern style skillet cornbread, or hoecakes and maybe some greens on the side. Top with some Chow Chow as shown below. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Deep South Pinto Beans and Rice

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 2 hours | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings

  • 1 pound of dry pinto beans, soaked overnight, picked through and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped, cooked ham, 1/2 pound package of smoked sausage or andouille sausage, or 1/2 pound of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (like Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped, jarred pickled jalapeno slices
  • 1 tablespoon of jalapeno juice, from the jar
  • 1/4 cup of green or red salsa
  • About 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • Hot, steamed rice

Soak beans overnight, or use quick boil method. If you are using bacon, or bacon in combination with other meats, omit the oil and saute the bacon first before the other meats. Use the rendered fat to saute the vegetables. Otherwise, heat the oil in a stockpot and add the ham or sausage, cooking until browned. Add the chopped onion and celery and cook and stir until onion is softened and slightly caramelized. Add the minced garlic and cook for about a minute. Stir in the beans, chicken base, jalapenos, juice, salsa and pepper; add enough water to cover, plus about 2 inches (about 2-1/2 quarts total) and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring regularly. Add additional water 1/2 cup at a time only if the beans thicken too much. Add salt and Cajun seasoning, taste and adjust as needed. Remove a cup of the beans and use an immersion blender to puree, or mash them with a fork, returning them to the pot; stir.

Serve as a side dish or scoop beans over hot, cooked rice and serve topped with Chow Chow if desired. Add warmed, buttered flour tortillas, a big slice of hot buttered southern style skillet cornbread, hoecakes or even a yeast roll, and maybe even some greens on the side.

Cook’s Notes: To lessen the heat, substitute chopped, undrained green chilies and eliminate the jalapenos and juice. You'll get a lighter colored bean if you pre-soak them, darker if you simply cook them without soaking, however, they will take longer to cook. Older beans tend to also take longer, so the fresher your beans, the less time they generally will take.

Quick Boil Method: Rinse and sort beans and place into a deep pot, adding water to cover beans plus about an inch or so. Do not add any seasonings or salt! Bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes uncovered, turn off heat, cover and let soak for one hour. Drain and set aside.

Crockpot: Soak beans overnight, drain and rinse and place into crockpot. Saute meats and veggies; add to crockpot. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients, except for the salt, Cajun seasoning, and rice, but including the water (enough to cover plus 2 inches). Cook on high until beans are tender, 6 to 8 hours, or low 9 to 12 hours. Length of time will depend on freshness of beans. When done, remove 1 cup of beans and mash, return to the crockpot and stir in.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on November 10, 2008

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