I use to highly dislike the times when my dad would make beans and cornbread for dinner. “Beans again?!” It seemed that it was a weekly meal with leftovers stretching into the next few days. But once I left home I found myself craving the one meal I had so despised. Although I do not make them every week, I do try to get a good bean fix about every month.
A bag of pinto beans runs for around one dollar, making it not only a cheap meal, but a very easy recipe to cook. Pinto beans are also very low in fat and high in fiber & protein. Bake a pan of cornbread and voila! A hearty meal to feed a village.
You can add ham hocks, bacon, or any other type of meat you like to the beans before cooking. Because of the long cooking time these work great to start in the morning and they will be finished by dinner or cook overnight. I use a 4qt crock pot but a large pot will do the job as well.
Delicious Rating: Like I said, easy to make, a basic no-brainer with the crock pot. Turned out good and would definitely (and have) cook them again!
A great cornbread recipe…I cheated and used a box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix!
Sort through your beans taking out all the rocks, discolored beans, split beans, and the really ugly ones.
Fill pot up with cold water and allow beans to soak for at least 2 hours.
Drain and rinse off the beans.
Add the chopped onion, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, and red pepper.
DO NOT ADD SALT NOW. Adding salt to beans before they cook will toughen them and not allow them to soften and cook well.
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly with hands.
Cover again with water to the brim, cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours or 10-12 on low.
As the beans cook on the high setting you will have to replenish the water from time to time. When the beans are done you can start the pan of cornbread if you plan on eating them then.
Add salt and sugar to taste.
I learned at a young age to sort through beans, just sit down and go through them for shriveled up beans, discolored beans, and rocks!
Make sure not to add the salt before the beans cook. This can cause them to get tough and really not cook through. Add the salt when the beans are finished cooking and you can taste them to see how much they need.
If you live in high altitude like I do (5,000 ft) then you will have to adjust cooking times in the crock pot. I cooked the beans on high for 8 hours and then switched to low for 10 hours…yes a long time. I start them in the afternoon and by the next morning they are done. As the beans cook on the high setting you will have to replenish the water from time to time. Every two-three hours I would add 2 cups of hot water and mix the beans some. If you cook the beans on low for the whole time you may only need to do this once or even not at all.
The smell of home cooked beans will fill the house during cooking time. I love waking up to it. When the beans are done you can start the pan of cornbread if you plan on eating them then. Add salt and sugar to taste. The sugar kills off some of the heat from the red peppers but keeps the spice there to enjoy. Take the crock pot out of the cooker and place on a towel or cooling tool. I like to ladle the beans into two large glass bowls and let the crock pot cool before adding water to it to clean
Easy clean-up is a plus! Add a few pats of butter to the top of the hot cornbread. Cut out a nice piece and place on top of you bowl of beans.