One of my earliest and fondest childhood food memories involves setting at my grandma's kitchen table and watching her sort beans. Early in the morning, she would spill a dusty bag of Pinto's out onto the kitchen table, swishing and strewing, like a Las Vegas card dealer, picking out the pebbles, looking for imperfections, making sure each bean was clean.
Once a week this ritual took place in Grandma's kitchen as beans were a staple back then. And I was in awe. To take this dry, hard, pebble, and turn it into something tender and delicious seemed magical to me. And what's more magical than beans? Grandma took the simplest of foods, the lowly legume, and raised it to a new level.
My kids were never wild about beans until I found this recipe in a 'Southern Living' magazine years ago. Now we eat them all the time. This recipe reminds me of the beans we used to get as a side dish at El Chico's. They go great with chicken enchilada's or with a big slice of jalapeno cornbread.
I highly recommend Rancho Gordo beans here as they are the freshest and best I have found.
Mexican Pinto Beans
1 cup dried pinto beans
3 cups chicken broth
Enough water to finish covering beans.
3 bacon slices, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Sort and wash beans; allow to soak in water overnight. Or cover with water 2 inches above beans, and bring to a boil. Boil beans 1 minute. Cover, remove from heat, and let soak 1 hour. Drain.
Bring beans, broth, and remaining ingredients to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2-3 hours until tender.
I used the crock pot for this recipe and doubled the amounts and they turned out great.