Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Slower Cooker Pinto Beans

Continuing with the never waste anything, I saved the ham bone from our Christmas dinner and kept it frozen.  When the urge came for pinto beans, I had just the meat needed to season it.  I grabbed the slow cooker from the basement and brought it to a counter in the kitchen.

This is a new slow cooker and I love it.  I had one that was at least twenty years old.  When my son moved to an apartment, the only thing he asked for was the crock pot.  So I gave it to him and went searching for another one.  I found this one and what I like best about it is the clamp-down top.  It prevents little hands from opening it and getting burned.

My Pinto Beans has no recipe.  We put in it whatever we have for seasoning depending on your tastebuds.  For this version, I put the beans in water and soaked them overnight.

Pinto Beans Soaking

Add water to cover the beans.  It should be about an inch higher than the beans.  Allow them to soak overnight or for 12 hours.  They will swell slightly.  Any that float to the top of the bowl should be discarded.

Drain the beans and wash them to remove any residue.  I think this procedure started because the beans used to be picked directly from the field.  Since I haven't ever done that, but learned from my grandmother, I do as she did.

Transfer the beans to the crockpot.

The ham bone I saved after the Christmas holidays was pulled from the freezer and thawed.  There is so much flavor in this food that you need very little of the other seasonings.  Beans are a good protein source.  That's my excuse for putting the ham bone (fat and all) in the beans.

Add the meat to the beans and cover them with fresh water.

Add water and whatever seasonings you prefer.  I haven't cooked with a lot of salt in years.  For the beans I felt the ham was salty enough, so I did not add any.  A small amount of red pepper was all that was needed.

Cover and wait for the magic to happen. By dinnertime the savory smell of the beans was driving me to the point of wanting to eat them straight out of the crock.  But I resisted since the rest of the menu included corn bread, baked chicken, and broccoli salad.  I'm hungry just thinking about it.


  1. I enjoyed this recipe! I loved hearing about your grandmother's wisdom. The elders in my family always discared the "floaters," too. We eat a lot of slow-cooked beans. I love to make a pot when I'm writing. The food cooks itself. A pan of cornbread is foodie paradise.