Once again, temperatures have dipped to unseasonable lows, forcing us to crank up the heat, unpack the sweaters, and seek comfort in our favorite food. For me, a steamy pot of pinto beans is perfect.
First, rinse beans and leave them in a bowl of water for approximately ten minutes while you gather the cookware and containers for extra water. I like to keep a quart of water beside the pot. That way, each time I pass through the kitchen I add more water.
Bring two quarts of water to a boil add 2 cups of beans and allow them to come to a rolling boil. Stir well. Reduce heat. Cover and allow to simmer.
After simmering for one hour, increase heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, a hefty shake of pepper and more water. Return to a boil (this will take only a moment). Cover and reduce heat. When beans reach the desired consistency it is time to prepare the seasoning.
Instead of adding fat back or a ham hock at the beginning of the process, cook four pieces of bacon until crunchy. Drain on a paper towel. Chop one small onion and (here’s the BIG secret) two entire stalks of garlic; not the bulb, the entire garlic from the bulb to the green tip.
In a cast-iron skillet, add a nickel-sized drop of olive oil, the onion and garlic. For those who like spicy beans you could add a Jalapeno pepper at this stage.
*Note: Dried beans can be prepared in a Crock Pot. Boil the water in a different container, pour into the Crock Pot, add beans and cook on high.
Keep gardening, and cooking.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author of, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes. She frequently speaks to book clubs and gardening clubs about how gardening builds communities.She is currently working on, In the Kitchen with Billy. Her books are traditionally published and available through independent publishers as well as online distributors. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com