Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Pinto Bean

I said about a month ago I would put up a post about the remarkable pinto bean.  But life and "wits end" keep on bumping into each other and blogging is about as low on the priority list as it gets, although I wish it weren't!

Anyways, when I was a kid my mom would put on a crock pot of beans sometimes.  I am so, so, so lucky } I married a guy who loves his beans!  Beans are cheap, store, well, and are so versatile.  Take the pinto bean pictured below.
I soak my beans the night before for two reasons.  First, it greatly decreases the amount of cooking time needed for them.  Second, it eliminates the gas you could get from them.  You remember that song you sang in elementary school, beans, beans, the magical fruit....

Anyways, soak them.  Put them in a bowl or your crock pot, give them a rinse and cover them with water and let it sit over night.  The next day pour off the water, give them another rinse and then put them in your crock pot and turn them on low for 8 hours, or high for 5.  The amount of cooking time could vary depending on if your beans are old or fresh.  About 45 minutes from where I live is Bonita, AZ.  They farm pinto beans, and boy am I ever grateful.  They are fresh and delicious and cook up quick!

When cooking them, I salt to taste, add some pepper and dehydrated onions to them.  That's about it.  However, don't salt until they are close to being done.  Adding salt at the beginning can slow their cooking.

Okay so now that you have a big bowl of beans what do you do with it?    I would eat them with chopped onions, green chilies, and tomatoes!  My kids would freak out if I tried to serve that to them!  I wrap theirs in a tortilla and sprinkle some cheese on top and broil it for a few minutes.

If you want to be like the restaurants, put some pads of butter on it and then sprinkle the cheese on a broil...melts in your mouth!  And if you want to get really crazy like us southern Arizona folks, have it enchilada style and call it a burro.  My husbands childhood favorite is a bean burro enchilada style.  Simply a bean burrito smothered in red enchilada sauce and melted cheese.  Don't knock it till you've tried it!

Now this is what I {LOVE} most about beans!  Never mind their nutritional content, click here for that info, I can get a bunch of meals out of them!

1. bowl of beans / burritos
2. mash them for tostados
3. taco salad
4. Chili beans
5. Beans and corn bread
6. bean dip
7. Beans on buttered toast (another odd one but SO good - especially with navy beans)
8. I add beans to my enchiladas and my tacos.  Nobody complains!
9. Freeze the extras - they are perfect!

So experiment with some beans.  It's a great way to have a vegetarian night!

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