Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Spicy Brown Beans

I used to only make a pot of brown beans when I had a leftover ham bone (with lots of meat still on it) to use up - brown beans and ham are wonderful together and that's the way my grandparents always made them.  
Now that I'm trying more meatless bean dishes, this one has been very popular with my family.  
You can make the beans as spicy as you want - just adjust it by adding less or more pepper and chili powder.  
The biggest thing with beans is to make sure they're salted well enough.  You can add some salt while they're cooking, but it's really best to wait until they're soft and ready, then add the salt to taste.  You can always add more if it's not enough - but if you over salt or season in the beginning, you can't take it away!  

We love these beans served with a big pan of cornbread - and sometimes some hashbrowns fried in a little coconut oil on the side.  
And don't forget the ketchup!  
Okay, maybe my family is weird, but we always ate ketchup on brown beans when I was a kid (and black-eyed peas too!) and I still love ketchup on beans.  

Recipe: (adapted slightly from the Pioneer Woman)

1 lb dry pinto beans
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalepenos, seeded and diced (or slice them if you prefer)
1-1/2 t. salt, more to taste
1 t. black pepper
1 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder

If you're planning ahead, rinse the beans under cold water, sorting out any rocks/particles. Place in a large pot and cover with water.  Let sit overnight.  In the morning, drain and rinse the beans.  

If you did NOT plan ahead, after rinsing the beans, place in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and let sit for an hour.  Proceed with recipe.

Place beans in a slow cooker, cover with water by an inch, and cook on low for 4 hours.  Add onion, peppers, and spices, stir well, cover and continue to cook for another 4-5 hours, until beans are completely tender.  Add additional salt and seasonings to taste.  

Note:  If you want to add a ham hock to this, it would certainly be delicious.  Just throw the ham in with the beans in the beginning and let it simmer all day - before serving, remove the bone and any fat chunks, remove any leftover meat from the bone, and add it back to the beans. 

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