What’s For Dinner Tonight? 3rd Edition

Pinto Beans with Hot Water Cornbread.

Being an old Midwesterner, it’s customary in our household for a pot of beans to be on the stove at least once week during this time of year. Forget the canned kind. We’re making this staple from dried pinto beans.

We love pinto beans in our house! Throughout the day, the aroma is so intoxicating. The mottled beans are in the pot in the morning and its scent fills the house throughout the day almost until you can’t take it anymore. After repeatedly asking how much longer the beans are going to take to cook, Grandma breaks our whining song and allows us a ladleful in our bowl to enjoy.

Her preparation is pretty easy. But note: you might want to have a hearty snack while waiting for this dish, because it is a long 4 step process!

1. Ridding the “bad beans”. Spread out the pinto beans and pick over them discarding the rocks, discolored and dried-up ones. I used to have fun helping Grandma sort the beans when I was little. You should let your children try it too.

2. Soaking the beans. Grandma says (and it’s scientifically a fact) that the longer you soak the beans; the easier it is on one’s digestive system. To measure your water in a bowl, use about three times of the amount of beans that you plan to put in the pot (for example, for two cups of dried beans, put in six cups of water). Let the beans soak in the water at least 6 hours.

Also, here’s another chance to get rid of the “bad beans”: Find any beans floating at the top? Discard them. Make sure you drain the water and rinse the beans thoroughly. 20 Piece Set for Home Kitchen Restaurant Hotel Service for 4 B07NSVTT83

3. Boiling the beans. Cover the beans in your stock pot with water by at least two inches, add rinsed off slices of salt pork and sprinkle the pot’s water with enough pepper to taste and bring the beans to a boil. The first time Grandma opens the pot after it starts to boil, she sprinkles seasoning salt in the pot for added flavor.

4. Simmering the beans. After the beans come to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about two and a half hours, stir regularly and make sure the beans continue to have enough water covering them. When the beans are done, take the spoon, mix the beans and mash some of them up on the bottom to give its “liquor” a little thickness.

My contribution to this dinner was preparing the hot water cornbread. It’s easy – but you have to be very careful. Use same parts of flour and corn meal (i.e., 1 cup flour = 1 cup corn meal) with a dash of salt (and sugar – if you like) for flavor. I boil the water and pour it in the dry ingredients slowly until the batter is still. Using a wet spoon, carefully drop a good size of the mixture into a 1/4inch of extreme hot grease. I love to use my cast iron skillet. Cook until brown turning once with a spatula to flatten.

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