Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pinto Beans & Cornbread

Every time Momma fixes a spiral ham, she saves the bone with some of the meat on it. She knows we love to fix pinto & white beans and what better way to season them? Now Momma won't touch any kind of dried beans unless they're navy beans and they've been baked in a bean pot. 37 years in the south has not changed that one bit. I like to fix a huge crock pot full and freeze what we don't use. What comes in a can just doesn't compare. If I'm going to be home all day, I do not pre-soak my beans. If I was going to cook these during the day, I would soak them overnight after they were sorted through.
We had a one pound bag each of dried great northern (white) and pinto beans in the cabinet and a ham bone in the freezer. It was cold out and all my plans revolved around being in the house...so a pot of beans was on the menu!
The first thing I do is line my crock pot with a liner. The first time Andy bought liners, I wasn't sure about whether they were worth the money spent until I had to clean up. Needless to say, we use them all the time.
Pour your beans out on the counter and sort through them. I look for "rocks" and funky looking beans and discard them..
I pour all of my beans in the crock pot and place the ham bone on top.
I fill the crock pot with enough water to cover the meat and add two small handfuls of Kosher salt. Pop the lid on top and crank it up to high. Be sure to check on them several times a day. The dried beans will soak up the water! After they've been on for 3 or 4 hours, I'll give them a good stir. Spoon out a few beans and the broth and taste them. Add whatever they may need, salt, etc. at that point. I started my beans around 9 in the morning. At noon, I had to add more water to the crock pot. They were done by 4:30 or so.
All we need is some cornbread and fried potatoes!
Cornbread
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
A black iron skillet is a must. My favorite skillet is the one that serves up 8 triangles of cornbread. The outsides are nice and browned and perfect with soups and beans.
Coat the bottom of the skillet vegetable oil and let it preheat with the oven. The oil is hot enough when a drop of batter sizzles when it hits it.
In a small mixing bowl mix:
  • 1 cup of Martha White self-rising cornmeal*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of buttermilk 
Make sure mix is thin. If too thick, add a little more buttermilk. Pour in hot skillet. Bake at 450 degrees for around 20 minutes. 
*I do all of my measuring by eye. To fill my triangle skillet, I have to use a little more meal and buttermilk.