I sat here tonight trying to think of something elaborate and meaningful to say about my reason for posting a recipe for beans. I really have been working hard — typing, backspacing, and typing again.
Now, it’s not like I haven’t thought of anything good to say. It’s just that I have to be honest. The main reason I’m sharing the bean recipe is because I feel like it.
But it’s true that there are lots of reasons you should know how to make a good pot of beans. And since I took so much time trying to figure out what grand thing I could share with you, I’ll just list a few of those reasons here:
~ Beans are cheap ~
~ Beans are a healthy alternative to meat ~
~ Beans are easy to make ~
~ Beans are high in fiber which is really good for you ~
~ Beans are cheap ~
Aren’t those reasons super deep? So let’s get to the “getting-good”. When I make beans I make a lot of them. And I’ve taken the time to perfect a recipe that we love in our house. After all, if I’m going to make a bunch of them, that means we’ll be eating them for awhile! And if we are going to be eating them for awhile, they better be good.
4 – 6 quarts of water
2 – 4 cups of chicken broth
2 pounds dried pinto beans
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
(or you can sub a bunch of pico de gallo for the last 3 items)
Seasonings of choice:
1/2 Tbsp salt, 1/2 Tbsp pepper, 1 Tbsp chili, 2 Tbsp cumin, 1/2 Tbsp dill, 1/2 Tbsp paprika.
- Combine water, chicken broth, and beans in a large pot and cover. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then turn down to a simmer. Let that just sit and hang out for about 3 1/2 hours, again stirring whenever you happen to walk by the kitchen. The key is to have the beans well covered with liquid. Get those babies nice and wet and keep them that way. Feel free to add more water or, better yet, chicken broth if it seems to be getting a little low. The ratio of water to chicken broth is not exact. Just go for the idea of lots of water with chicken broth added for flavor.(By the way, I know many recipes require you to soak beans first. This one doesn’t! I think that’s what makes the pot liquor so good, tasty, and thick)
- Now, since you have plenty of time until the beans are cooked, turn on your favorite music and start choppin’. I’ve listed my favorite ingredients to put in the beans. Honestly though, my only goal was color. Beans are just a boring brown, you know? Feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste buds.
- Once you have chopped everything up, you can choose to dump the veggies in the beans straight-a-way, OR, you can saute’ them first in a pan. I’ve found that this helps bring out the flavor. Pour a capful of your favorite oil in the pan (I like coconut), heat to medium heat, and start with the garlic and onions. Let that heat up for few minutes and then add the rest of the veggies.
- Lastly, I add my seasonings. Please know that the mix of seasonings I use is a product of me trying to use up a mix of random seasonings in my pantry. It happened to turn out OK. Also, know that because I am cooking low sodium for my husband, you may need to add more salt to suit your taste buds. Feel free to take some risks with the seasoning. It’s a pot o’ beans so it’s hard to really mess it up.
My favorite part of making a bunch of beans is that I don’t have to do it too often. This big ‘ol pot will last awhile. I let the beans sit out for the rest of the day until the temperature is one that I can work with, then I take a measuring cup and start parceling out the beans to freezer bags. I label the bags, try to get as much air out of them as I can, and then I stack them in the freezer neatly so they will freeze in a stackable shape. Be sure and wipe the freezer bags dry or else they will stick together in the freezer.
Then whenever you need some beans, pull out the freezer bag that matches your quantity requirement, defrost it, and use it as a:
~ Filling for a pita ~
(optional: add lettuce, tomato, sauteed onions and peppers, guacamole, etc)
~ Spaghetti Stretcher ~
(your kids might not notice)
~ Side dish for any balanced meal ~
(Mexican food night sounds good)
~ Refried beans (just mash ’em up) ~
~ Main Dish for “Beans and Rice” night ~
(Make some slammin’ cornbread and your family will love it!)
I’d love to hear your ideas for how to get more beans into your diet. Also, if you decide to try my recipe, be sure and let me know what you think!