Kat's Spicy, Tender, and Quick Southwest Red Beans
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.
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!
- 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
- 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(s)
- (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
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.
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.
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!