PINTO BEAN RECIPES
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Pinto, the very versatile legume
Necessity is often the "mother
of invention" in cooking, as well as the other
practicalities of life. Many years ago as a young
wife, I found myself face to face with a 50 pound
sack of pinto beans that had been given to my DH. I
was ashamed to admit I had never seen, eaten or
cooked a dry bean in my life before then, so
without a cook book or mother nearby I knew that I
was doomed. After much trial and error this recipe
for "Sweet Country Beans" evolved. I hope that you
will enjoy it too.
- 2 lbs. Pinto beans
- Ham hock or ham bone (other available meats
- Garlic to taste
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon iodized salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano, or to
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pinch of rosemary, or more
- to 1 cup Karo dark corn syrup
- 1, 8 oz. can tomato sauce (or 2 cans, if
- 1 tablespoon olive or corn oil, if using dry
or canned meat
- 3 tablespoons corn starch (optional
Rinse and sort 2 pounds of pinto
beans using a large colander. Pour beans into a 5
quart stock pot or larger. Pour in cold water to 4
inches above the beans...they will swell
In the morning, pour off soaking
water. Move the pot to the stove and fill a pitcher
with cold water to cover the beans (Taking the
water to the beans is easier than carrying a heavy
pot of beans plus the water!)
Bring pot to a boil. Lower heat
to a slow simmer. At this point I add a ham hock or
ham or pork roast bone with some adhering meat.
Now add salt, garlic, black
pepper, plus several pinches of Rosemary, and
Marjoram or Oregano. Add crushed red pepper or
chopped Jalapeno pepper (optional)...this amount is
not hot, just flavorful. If a pepper lover,
Stir in ingredients, bring pot
to a bubbling simmer and cover. Simmer for
Next, I add Karo dark corn syrup
and tomato sauce (or paste), and olive or corn oil
(if the meat used contains little or no fat).
Continue simmering for hour or
until beans are tender, stirring as needed to
Add water as needed. If there is
too much liquid, remove pot lid during the last
part of cooking. But a "pot watcher be" as liquid
evaporates quickly left unattended!
At this time, I mix the corn
starch with a cup of cold water, and dip a half cup
of the hot pot liquor into the corn starch mixture.
Blend quickly and stir into the pot. This thickens
the pot liquid into a sauce instead of a splashy
The pinto's are now cooked and
ready for a healthful meal. Beans are a "half
protein," so served with a small amount of meat,
cheese or milk they become a full protein
* Use any left over ham parts,
including rinds, scrape excess fat from ham rind
pieces and put them in with the beans. The rind
will soften with cooking, adds flavor and is also
Helpful hint: Instead of a
cooking spoon, use a large size spatula, as its
shape alone will scrape the bottom of the pot while
stirring...more efficient to prevent sticking,
which leads to scorched foods. An old friend once
taught me this method to prevent scorching when
cooking large pots of food or in jelly making.
MEATS TO STRENGTHEN PINTO
A message from Mrs. Miles.
Other canned meats will work
very will in the Pinto Bean recipes, should there
be food shortages.
The very best "meat" that you
will have stored away will be your Hamburger Rocks!
Next, I would suggest the 16 ounce cans of cooked
ham. I buy a brand named "Festival," product of
Holland*, for $1.99 at discount stores. Given the
low price, I have been able to purchase a quantity
of these to use when necessary for a quick meal. I
have squirreled away a good amount, as I will also
be cooking for grandchildren in times of
Canned corned beef* is a good
buy these days. I use it happily in several
recipes, or "as is" for delicious sandwiches.
Corned beef will give protein to your bean pot. It
is priced on sale at $1.50 per can, or $2.00 at
Spam, or store brand generic
"luncheon meat*," will give flavor and strength to
a pinto bean meal. The "Brand X" types I have been
finding for $1.00 to $1.50 each. How much longer
these excellent canned meats will be easily
obtainable at such a low cost is doubtful, as any
series of disastrous weather events occurring now
and predicted in the near future could cause
dramatic food price increases, leading to rationing
or unstocked shelves.
I urge all of you to fill your
pantry's now while the processed food items are
affordable. Once the cans are dipped in melted wax,
they will keep in your homes under your control for
years if necessary.
* Canned hams or luncheon meat
from Holland, Denmark or Poland are excellent
quality products. Canned corned beef from Brazil is
also excellent. The food laws in those countries
are far stricter than in the U.S., so there are no
additives or preservatives in the meat, no hormones
or antibiotics used in the animal feed, etc. In
fact, those countries will not allow the
importation of American meat products, which they
- 4 cups pinto beans
- 2 cups "Hamburger Rocks"
- 5 slices bacon (or canned ham or Spam)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups, (16 oz) canned tomatoes
- or two 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce.
- 3 tablespoons chile powder, or to suit
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed or ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano, chopped parsley or
- Hot green chili, chopped and sauteed with
Soak 4 cups of beans overnight;
drain beans in the morning, just cover with fresh
water, and cook slowly until almost tender. Remove
from heat and set aside.
Pour boiling water over 2 cups
of "Hamburger Rocks" to rehydrate. Set aside.
Fry 5 slices of bacon in large
frying pan, remove bacon, and saute` chopped onion
in the drippings until tender.
(Optional: use 2 tablespoons
corn oil or slices or chunks of canned ham or
Drain "Hamburger Rocks" and pour
into mixture. Chop bacon or ham and return to pan.
Add remaining ingredients. Simmer until well
blended, about one half hour. This make 6 to 10
This chili mixture may be served
over hot cooked rice. Add cheese if you like for a
For seasonings, you might like
to stock up on "Grandma's Chili Seasoning"
packages, available now at grocery stores in the
"instant gravy" section, often 2 for $1.00.
- Soak 2 cups pinto beans overnight, drain
- to 1 pound salt pork (bacon or ham), sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 fresh garlic cloves, crushed (or use
- 1 cup pure honey
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 3 tablespoons ground ginger (or fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Cover soaked beans with 3 quarts
fresh water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat,
simmering until beans are tender, 35 to 45 minutes.
Drain the beans into colander placed over sauce pan
to save the cooking liquid. Preheat oven to 300
Put the beans in a large baking
pan, or in a 5 quart deep casserole with a lid,
and mix with the salt pork, onion and garlic.
Measure 2 cups of the saved cooking liquid,
stirring in the honey, mustard, ground ginger, salt
Pour the liquid over the beans.
Stir and cover. Bake for 2 hours. If using a
baking pan, cover with foil.
I like to remove the lid and
stir beans every once in a while. The aroma is
If you are "powerless" the
casserole can be baked in a camp oven over a
kerosene cooker, or in a solar oven.
I have made "baked" beans on top
of a wood stove in a heavy cast iron covered kettle
with trivet legs, so the temperature was low enough
for gentle cooking. Just stir often and add more
liquid as necessary to keep from scorching bottom
PINTO BEANS - and PEOPLE
About 20 years ago, someone
noticed that the people in one remote village (A)
on the East coast of Mexico were very healthy, yet
the people in another remote village (B) about 70
miles away were not healthy. Their diets
were virtually identical: a little fish, their home
grown beans, some corn, and a few vegetables. The
soil conditions and water available for gardening
were virtually identical, and the villagers used
similar clay crocks or jugs for storing their
Another obvious difference
between the two villages was that the first one was
able to store beans from one harvest to the next,
but the poorer villagers often ran out of stored
beans, as bean weevils destroyed their dried
The people in village A were
healthy and industrious, their children full of
energy, with strong limbs and teeth, ran to their
tasks and games as healthy children do. Meanwhile,
in village B, the people were listless, did less
work, and the children all had symptoms of rickets
So what could make such a
tremendous difference in the health of people in
two neighboring villages? After considerable study,
it turned out there were two things the people of
the distant villages were doing differently.
In village A, a watchful
villager had noticed that bean weevils had to brace
themselves against one bean in order to gnaw
through the hard outer shell of another bean. So
they only filled their storage crocks three-fourths
full, and once a month would shake them. The
shaking of the beans would by itself kill the been
weevil larvae, and thus their beans would remain
unharmed in storage.
Again, in village A, persons
long before had noticed that beans were hard to
digest, which meant that all of the food value was
not being extracted from them. So they added a
teaspoon full of wood ashes (lye) to the soaking
water for their beans, then rinsed the beans and
discarded the soaking water before cooking. The lye
altered the state of the lysine in the beans, so
the available amino acids were much more readily
assimilated by the human digestive tract. It
worked: they were healthy.
You are wondering if the
researchers took those lessons from Village A back
to Village B, and everything turned out just fine,
like in a fairy tale, right? Well, they tried, but
the B villagers said they had been growing and
saving beans for years, they knew what they were
doing, and something as simple as shaking their
beans was dumb, and they weren't going to put any
wood ashes in their beans. Sounds like the
tale of the ant and the grasshopper to me!
Some people have a problem
digesting beans, claiming bloating or flatulence.
Cooking the beans in the soaking water can be
responsible for this annoyance.
A very few individuals have a
sensitivity to all legumes: beans, peas, lentils,
garbanzo beans, etc, causing diarrhea. They should
not eat any legumes, including bean sprouts, soy
oil or products containing soy proteins. The
symptoms are almost instant diarrhea, or a slight
episode after ingesting a small amount of soy oil,
flour, or "textured" soy protein from a "packaged,"
ready to cook box of prepared food. Frozen TV
dinners almost always contain soy oil. Virtually
all mayonnaise is made from soy oil. So "let the
buyer read the ingredients" - carefully!
A simple reason for "normal"
symptoms of "gas" after eating a meal of beans is
the following: some persons who seldom eat dry
beans in their meals may feel the temporary effects
of an overload of B vitamins. Legumes are a rich
source of the B complex family. The unwanted
symptoms will quickly disappear once beans are a
part of the regular diet.