Not interested in the step-by-step? Skip to the recipe.
Pinto Beans are one of the first things I learned to cook from my Mammaw Rosie.
I loved hanging out with her in the kitchen.
Even when I no longer lived at home, I’d go over to my parent’s house on my lunch break because I knew Mammaw would have something cooking.
I’d ask, “How much of this?” “How much of that?” and she’d answer with something like, “as much as it needs” or “a good spoonful”.
So blame her for my lack of measurements and recipes. It’s all her fault.
Mammaw usually soaked the beans overnight, but I’m impatient so I did what’s called a quick-soak.
Rinse the beans:
And throw away any that look odd.
You’ll know when you see one.
Put the beans in a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
Once the water is rapidly boiling, put the lid on the pot and turn off the burner.
Let the beans soak for one hour, covered.
After an hour the water will be bean colored.
We’ll use fresh water for the cook so drain the beans in a colander.
I used a hambone leftover from a Honey Baked Ham we bought over the weekend.
You can also use smoked ham hocks from your local grocery store or meat market.
Add the pinto beans to the pot:
Then cover with water:
You’ll want the water to be about 2 inches above the beans.
Once the water boils:
Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Sneak-a-peek at the beans from time to time. If they need water, add hot water and continue to simmer.
However, and this is VERY important: do not add any seasoning yet.
Allow the flavor and saltiness of the ham hock do its magic first. The juices will reduce over time and you will more than likely find that the beans do not need any added seasoning.
After about 3-4 hours you’ll have this rich brown juice:
If your beans aren’t thickening the way you want, simmer them uncovered for a little while. I usually let mine simmer for about 45 minutes with the lid off.
After they reduce is when you can taste and decide if you need to add any seasoning. But not before then.
Don’t worry about timing this.
Pinto beans get better as they sit, so if they are done before supper, just leave them covered with the burner off.
I like to eat pinto beans over crumbled cornbread:
And then topped with chopped onion:
This meal brings back such wonderful memories of my childhood and teenage years.
- 1 pound bag dry pinto beans
- Leftover hambone or smoked ham hocks
- Salt and Pepper, to taste, but only if needed.
- Rinse the beans and throw away any that look odd. You'll know it when you see it.
- Put the beans in a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
- Once the water is rapidly boiling, put the lid on the pot and turn off the burner.
- Let the beans soak for one hour, covered.
- Drain the beans in a colander.
- Put the pinto beans back into the pot and add the leftover hambone or store bought ham hocks.
- Cover the beans with water until the water is 2 inches above the beans.
- Bring to a boil.
- Once the water boils, cover and turn the heat down to a simmer for about 3-4 hours. Sneak-a-peek at the beans from time to time. If they need water, add hot water and continue to simmer.
- However, and this is VERY important: Do not add any seasonings yet. Nothing. Let the ham do its magic. The juices will reduce over time and you will more than likely find that the beans do not need any seasoning.
- For thicker beans, simmer uncovered until they are the way you like them. I usually allow them to simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes.
- Serve over crumbled cornbread or rice or both.