Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall Days and Soup Beans

My weekends lately have been full of family, football, and food (hey, look at that alliteration!) and I am absolutely loving it!!  This time of the year is almost magical as far as I'm concerned.  Life gets a little cozier, we all snuggle in a little as the air chills a bit, and our thoughts start to drift towards the upcoming holidays.  Don't get me wrong- I'm all for shorts, flip flops, and the warm sun on my skin but at the same time...in my mind autumn is where it's at.

Last night, just before bed, it struck me that it would be really nice to come home from church to a nice warm batch of soup beans and cornbread and I threw some in the crock pot.

I think I had beans on the mind- as the internet was quick to remind me, yesterday was Pioneer Day back in my hometown.    A day for kids to dress up like pioneers, locals to make floats for a hometown parade, and the city park to be absolutely FLOODED with people lining up for the free bean feed.  And really, when it comes to Pioneer Day, it's all about those beans.  So good.

Anyway, I decided to throw together some beans.  Beans are so simple and delicious- is there anyone who doesn't like them?  They're loved fairly universally.  Did I mention they're also pretty much the least expensive meal you could think up short of a peanut butter sandwich?  Way more satisfying too.

Anyway, so beans do take a little bit of time but pretty much no work whatsoever.  Some people soak their beans, but not me- I'm pretty lazy in the bean arena and they turn out beautifully without a soak.

Are you ready to hear about my method?  

Ok, here it goes...throw everything in the crockpot.  Turn it on.  Eat tomorrow.

Perfect beans are that easy.

After throwing the beans in the crock pot before bed last night I turned the heat down to low when I woke up, vented the lid, and went to church- the perfect batch of beans was waiting for us when we returned.

Throw in a nice, warm slice of the world's best cornbread and you pretty much have the most satisfying Sunday afternoon meal you could possibly imagine!

P.S.- Don't forget that you can always add more heat or more salt at the end to suit your tastes but once it's in there it's in there- let the beans do there thing before doing anything crazy with extra stuff :-)

2 lb dried pinto beans, rinsed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
Water to cover

1. Add all ingredients to crock pot, cover with enough water to cover by 3"; stir to combine.  Cook covered and on high for 8 hours.  Check occasionally first two hours or so to make sure that the beans remain covered with water; add additional water to cover beans if necessary.

2. Turn heat to low, vent or remove lid and cook for 4 hours or until liquid has thickened.

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