Here we are in the hottest part of the summer. Daily temperatures are hovering around 100. Humidity is through the roof. And what do I do? Why get out my pots and pans and cook up some beans. Yeah. I’m weird like that. Admittedly, this is more of a fall or winter kind of recipe, but doggone it I was just craving a pot of pinto beans.
BeeBop is always talking about the “pintos and cheese” that his Mom made for them when he was a little fellow growing up out west. BeeBop’s family is from the same area as mine, but his Dad was in the Air Force so he moved around a couple of times before winding up back in south Georgia. Apparently, pinto beans were a big part of the diet out in New Mexico where they were stationed for a while. And they were cheap – very important when you’re raising five kids on military pay! Anyway, I’ve been trying for years to find a recipe that would satisfy that craving for Mom’s “pintos and cheese.” I haven’t yet hit on that magical combination, but in the process I’ve found some pretty tasty recipes! This one for Cowgirl Beans was published by Craig Claiborne in his wonderful book Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking, but I’m sure it wasn’t his original creation. I’d guess that this recipe had been around the block a couple of times before he got it. Regardless, it’s a great dish to serve with hearty food. I served it with some pork chops and a fresh green salad.
Oh, and if anybody out there has a recipe for “pintos and cheese” please send it my way?
Sorry I don’t have step-by-step photos for you on this recipe (or some of the last ones, either). For some reason I’m getting really blurry shots on those photos. Gotta keep working on those camera skills!
To summarize the recipe steps for you – you simply start with dried pinto beans and water. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and let them cook, partly covered, for one hour. After an hour of cooking time, add the salt and half the onion. Continue cooking for 30 minutes more.
Heat up a small skillet with a little oil and cook the remaining onion and the jalapeno until the onion is starting to soften. Add the tomatoes and cilantro and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.
Remove about a cup of beans with the liquid and puree them in a blender or food processor until they are as fine a texture as possible. Stir the pureed beans back into the pot. Add the sauteed tomato and onion mixture and stir it into the beans. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.
Serve the beans as they are, or with a selection of topping such as grated cheddar cheese, chopped scallions, sour cream and salsa.
Other recipes for pinto beans you might enjoy from around the internet:
- Drunken Pintos with Cilantro and Bacon from Cooking in Kansas City
- Mom’s Chili Beans from Simply Recipes
- Homesick Texan’s Pinto Beans Three Ways
- The Pioneer Woman’s Beans and Cornbread
- Pork and Pinto Beans from Taste of Home
What I was cooking…