These Best Pinto Beans make for a scrumptious budget friendly meal. Dry pinto beans cooked with thick cut slab bacon. fresh thyme and seasonings gives them just the right pop of flavor. Serve a bowlful alongside a skillet of hot buttered cornbread, sweet chow chow and a generous sprinkle of green onion for a bit of crunch and watch them disappear. Simply delicious.
Pinto beans are not inherently Southern however, let me tell you we truly love ’em in the South. My Mom often had a pot of beans going on busy housekeeping days letting them cook to sheer perfection while she went about her day. As a girl, It didn’t register that beans were an inexpensive way to feed the family, I just thought they were good. That hasn’t changed a bit I still love them. Pinto beans would have never been served in our house without cornbread. Ever. it would have been a sacrilege and against everything we stood for. The flavor or type of cornbread is completely at your discretion so make your favorite. The seasoning blend adds to depth of flavor in this version of pinto beans and it always has them coming back for more.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Best Pinto Beans
- 1 lb dry pinto beans
- 6 cups water
- 3 slices thick cut bacon cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock plus additional as needed
- 1/4 cup grated or minced sweet onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tsp dark chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Rinse and pick over the dry beans removing any debris. Place into a large bowl and cover with enough water to allow 2-inches over the beans. Soak overnight or for 4-6 hours.
- To cook: Drain the beans and place into a 6 quart dutch oven or similar size pot with bacon.
- Cover with 6 cups water or enough water to have at least 1-inch over the beans.
- Bring to a boil then cover. Lower the heat to just above medium. Adjust so there's enough heat to cook rather vigorously for 45 minutes. Check periodically and do not let cook dry.
- Uncover and add the chicken stock, onion, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and lower the heat to medium-low. continuing to cook for 1 1/2 hours. (Check periodically and add additional stock, if needed)
- After 1 1/2 hours add the chili powder, garlic salt, pepper, cumin and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix well. Cover and cook for another 30-45 minutes over medium-medium low or until the beans are soft and creamy and the liquid has thickened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
- Once cooked, allow to stand for 30 minutes. The sauce will continue to thicken while it sits.
- Serve with cornbread, diced onion and chow chow, if desired.