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Best. Pinto Beans. Ever.

Like a perfectly decadent chocolate cake. Or a light and fluffy loaf of bread. Yes, even our homemade-by-Cynthia tomato jam. Cynthia brings us back to the table with her Best. Pinto Beans. Ever.

They are that good.

Why does she praise beans?! Because they are an incredibly delicious product that’s accessible, reliable and delicious. And after a little pilgrimage to the bins of assorted beans, Cynthia arrives in the kitchen with several pounds of pinto beans (plus a few more to stash for later) ready to make it happen.

Pinto beans are what we think of when we think staple (rice and beans right?). Not a bad looking bean; beige colored, speckled with brown (BTW that’s what “Pinto” means) and these beans are meaty, robust, flavorful and far more complex than the sad can a beans sitting in your pantry waiting to be open just in case…God knows what might happen. We’ll need to talk about earthquake provisions at a later date.

BUT a holy bag of beans are more than an investment in your well stocked cupboard of “I always have…” And Let’s face it whether your counting your pennies these days or saving mankind from hunger, you really should take a second look at beans.

Oh and ahem, worried about flatulence…don’t worry, got that covered. Scout's honor.

  • Beans:

    2 cups Pinto Beans
    6 cups of water


    The Seasoning:

    3-4 Jalapeño
    1 large onion
    Sea salt
    Black Pepper


  • Pinto Beans:

    1

    First things first, give em’ a good wash. Place in a colander and just run them under a good amount of water. Remove any obvious debris, such as small stones or twigs and of course any beans that don't look up to par.


    2

    Soak, Soak, Soak. Pre-soaking the beans helps to break down the oligosaccharides that contribute to increased flatulence.

    Place in a bowl, at a ratio of 2-3 cups warm water per cup of dried beans, cover and allow to soak in the refrigerator overnight (minimum 8 hours).


    3

    Drain beans.

    Your first side note: Never cook beans in the water they've soaked in or you re-introduce the oligosaccharides that contribute to increased flatulence. Always drain the pre-soaked beans and use fresh water for cooking.


    4

    OK, lets ready the beans for cooking. Add fresh water, at a ratio of 3 cups liquid per cup of dried beans. The liquid should cover the beans by 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm).


    5

    Bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Check the water level frequently and top off if needed (always maintain the level of water above the beans).

    Side note: When cooking beans, always keep them at a simmer. Boiling can cause the cooking liquid to evaporate too quickly, as well as cause the beans to break apart and the skins to separate.


    Seasoning:

    1

    While the beans are simmering, dice up a big, fat onion and a few Jalepeno’s. Sauté in a pan with a few glugs of olive oil and  plenty of salt and pepper until both the onions and peppers are soft. Set a side.

    Side note...and almost there: It’s important to note that we never add seasonings or salt to the cooking beans. This can change the cooking time and can toughen the beans. Always add seasonings after the pinto beans have been cooked.


    2

    Once your beans are super soft and the beans appear to have created a juice/gravy, add onion/pepper mixture to the pot of beans and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.

    Done. Last note: Cooking time varies depending on the size and age of the beans ( as well as how much scum/foam comes off the beans in the process), the humidity and other unknowns. Generally, beans require at least 1 1/2 hours and can even take up to 4 hours to fully cook.



Cook: Cynthia Johnson

Recipe: Pinto Beans

Date: May 23, 2015

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Pinto Beans

If this is your first time out, here's your chance to experience the wonderful simplicity of a good ol' pot of beans. Seriously, there are few things more fundamental than pouring dried beans into a big pot of water and watching them transform into a gratifying meal and a week of endless possibilities. So let's get started. First we SOAK!



Pinto Beans

Although it might be true that some beans do not need to be pre-soaked: red, green, black-eyed peas, mung, split peas (green or yellow), snow cap and soldier. We advocate SOAKING!!! (not because of marginal labor-saving benefits). Soaking your legumes overnight in very warm water (140 degrees Fahrenheit) not only helps helps to reduce the time it takes to cook but also their Phytic Acid content. Phytic Acid? What?? Basically it’s one of those “anti-nutrients” that binds minerals in the digestive tract, making them less available to our bodies. Look…on their face, legumes appear to be rich in minerals. But you're absorbing only about half of the mineral content of your legumes that you deserve to be absorbing.

Luckily soaking beans is not rocket science! If you’ve never soaked beans before, it’s so easy. Just cover the beans in warm filtered water with 2-3 cups of water per cup of your favorite beans. Soaking your beans overnight helps to reduce their Phytic Acid content, and inturn increase your absorption of minerals by 50-100%!



Pinto Beans

OK, lets ready the beans for cooking. Add fresh water, at a ratio of 3 cups liquid per cup of dried beans. The liquid should cover the beans by 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Check the water level frequently and top up if needed (always maintain the level of water above the beans).



Pinto Beans

While the beans are simmering, dice up a big, fat onion and a few Jalepeno’s. Sauté in a pan with a few glugs of olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper until both the onions and peppers are soft. Set a side.



Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

Once your beans are super soft and the beans appear to have created a juice/gravy, add onion/pepper mixture to the pot of beans and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.



Pinto Beans

Whether you plan to make stuff them into your favorite wrap, smash em’ on a baguette, top a fresh salad, along side eggs, some hot soup or a big dish of pasta, your pot of beans is a brilliant excuse for a gustatory exploration of what you once thought of beans!







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