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kat's spicy, tender, and quick southwest red beans

★★★★★ 3
a recipe by
Kathleen Hagood
Gorman, TX

I guess I am a bean snob. LOL If there is one thing I can't stand, it's a pot of tough red beans. There are very few restaurants where I will eat them because they are just not tender enough for my tastes. I also like them spicy, and this recipe reminds me of Charro beans, a spicy bean soup available in Mexican restaurants in Texas. Also, because I teach first-year composition at a local university, I need to be able to make beans quickly and easily so that I can return to grading papers. This recipe is super quick because you don't have to soak the beans. My mother taught me to cook them this way when she was staying with me after I gave birth, and she knew I needed all of the time I could get, so I have my mama to thank for this one. My family just loves this recipe. Last weekend, my two grandsons ate several helpings of these, and my daughter told me that I had to tell her how to do it. As I make them now, I can hear the two-year-old grandson, say "More beans!" I guess it's time for me to pass on my recipe for spicy beans with my mother's secret for making dried pintos much faster.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Pinto beans were a favorite of mine in childhood, but as an adult, I don't make them often. After trying this easy recipe, I will be eating them more often. I loved that the beans are tender so quickly. There's a definite spice to the recipe, but it's not over-the-top hot. I was surprised at how you really taste the flavor of the jalapeno, without the heat. Very good!

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
★★★★★ 3
cook time 1 Hr 40 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For kat's spicy, tender, and quick southwest red beans

  • 1 lb
    dried pinto beans (I use Casserole brand. They are just better than most of the others I have used.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    baking soda
  • 2 slice
    salt pork, thickly sliced, and then cut into smaller pieces or 2-3 pieces of smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 c
    chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp
    (heaping) of prepared chopped garlic from a jar
  • 1
    jalapeno pepper, fresh & whole (usually, it provides flavor without really making the beans very hot when it is still whole because the seeds and ribs don't spill out.)
  • 1/4 tsp
    black ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 1 can
    (10 oz.) hot rotel, diced tomatoes with habanero (you may use the milder rotel, if you don't like very spicy beans.)
  • 1/2 c
    fresh cilantro, packed (or use ground coriander to taste)
  • sea salt, to taste

How To Make kat's spicy, tender, and quick southwest red beans

  • 1
    Using a plate, tray, or counter, pour out beans from the bag, a few at a time, and pick out any bean pieces, rocks, different types of beans, etc. (I like Casserole brand because they seem to have fewer rocks, etc.) Throw away the rocks and bean pieces, and put the good beans into a 2 1/2 quart pan.
  • 2
    Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda, and then fill the pan with water, about 1 1/2 - 2 inches from the top. Bring to boil. The water will foam and may turn greenish. When this happens, turn off burner and drain the beans through colander. Rinse the beans, and the pan. (The pan will have a little foam on the sides before rinsing.) This stage takes the place of the usual overnight soaking. I like being able to do it this way, but it's especially useful when unexpected company comes and I don't have time to soak beans.
  • 3
    Return rinsed beans to pan; cover with water. There shouldn't be major foam on the water, only a slight foam around the edges of the pan. Add salt pork, the whole jalapeno pepper, the onion, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and, if you are using, ground coriander. Bring beans to a boil. Keep them on low-medium while making sure to add water as the water gets low. You may have to add water a couple of times. (If you use a lid, the beans will boil over and make a mess on the stove top, so even on simmer, you will need to closely watch the beans if covered.) Do not stir while cooking, but do keep enough water in the pan to cover the beans.
  • 4
    Once beans are almost tender (after about an hour) remove the jalapeno, add the can of Rotel tomatoes, and cook 15-20 minutes longer. Then salt to taste. I usually taste the liquid because the salt will need to cook into the beans. (Salting before beans are tender may make them a little tough.) Also, add fresh cilantro now. (It is more flavorful when added at the end or when serving.) Cook about 15 minutes more until salt absorbs into the beans. These are great served with BBQ, Mexican food, or just served in a bowl with a slice of cornbread on the side. Garnished with pico de gallo, it makes me think I am in heaven!
  • 5
    Variations: I have made these without the Rotel, without the cilantro, and I have added a can of small green chilies and cayenne at times. I change it frequently depending upon who is dining with me. They are good even with the variations.

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