Pinto Beans - Basic Recipe + Kitchen Tip
Last week at church, one of the women shared this recipe and the idea to prepare one simple meal a week with beans and rice in order to remind us of those that are less fortunate. So, I've made it my mission in the month of March to prepare one simple meal a week to remember those who have to go without food. Statistics show 805 million people worldwide (or about 10% of the world's population) suffer from chronic undernourishment. That number is staggering. As a country, we are blessed to have so much!
Beans are filling, healthy, and chalked full of fiber.There are five significant benefits to eating legumes:
1) People who eat beans regularly lower their risk of developing heart disease.
2) Beans can reduce your risk of developing cancer. They containing cancer fighting chemicals, specifically, isoflavones and phytosterols.
3) They provide fiber which in turn lowers your cholesterol.
4) They help you feel full more quickly, and in turn make you feel fuller longer. Thus enabling weight loss and providing energy.
5) Beans actually help manage diabetes.
Beans really are a super food! :)
Here are a couple of tips regarding beans.
First, it is very important to make sure your beans are fresh! Many people think beans will keep forever, but if they're not fresh they will not soften as they should when cooked.
Second, you need to soak your beans overnight in water before cooking them. This is so that they will absorb the water and begin softening. However, you don't have to soak them overnight if you follow the steps I've added below. This can be very helpful if you don't have time to soak them beforehand (like deciding to make beans that day or if you forget to soak them overnight).
Third, you can save time later by sorting your beans when you first buy them. After sorting and removing any rocks, store the dry beans in an air-tight container. This way your beans will be ready to rinse and prepare the next time you are wanting to make beans. I like to use quart sized Mason jars to store my beans so they can double as a counter top decoration. Besides that, you can use the time spent sorting beans for quiet reflection and meditation. I have even found that it can be a very calming and therapeutic activity.
Over the years I've tried several different recipes for cooking beans. I've added onion, bacon, ham, cilantro, etc. This recipe is a wonderful basic recipe for pinto beans. And plus, the cumin gives them a very pleasing flavor. Here's how:
3 cups uncooked pinto beans *(See my kitchen tip)
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
3 bay leaves
1/2 Tablespoon salt
The night before you plan to cook your beans:
1. Sort the beans and remove any rocks that may be present. (I've found it easiest by sorting 1/2 cup of beans at a time).
2. Rinse the beans well with cold water.
3. Place beans in a large pan and fill the pan with cold water until the water level is about 2 inches above the beans and allow the beans to soak overnight.
*See the Kitchen Tip below for a faster way to prepare beans that doesn't require overnight soaking.
The next morning after allowing the beans to soak overnight:
4. Rinse and drain the beans and place them in a 3-quart crock pot.
5. Add water to the crock pot so that there is enough water to cover the beans.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the cumin, garlic powder, salt, and bay leaves.
7. Add this mixture to the crock pot and stir well.
8. Cook the beans for 6-8 hours on low or for 3-5 hours on high.
9. Enjoy the beans as a side dish, or as a main dish with rice. (Remove bay leaves before serving).
* Kitchen Tip:
There is a faster way to cook pinto beans that doesn't involve soaking them overnight. This does the same thing as soaking the beans overnight. See how below.
Kitchen Tip Way -
1. Sort. Remove any rocks that may be present.
3. Add all beans to saucepan. Add cold water. (Make sure the beans are covered completely with water. They will absorb it during the cooking process).
Bring to a rolling boil. Put the lid on and remove from burner.
4. After boiling, let the beans sit covered for one hour.
5. After sitting for one hour, drain the water from the beans.
6. Add the beans to the crock pot and cover completely with cool water.
7. In a separate bowl, combine cumin, garlic powder, salt, and bay leaves.
8. Add the mixture to the crock pot and stir well.
9. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-5 hours.
10. Enjoy the beans as a side dish, or as a main dish with rice. (Remove bay leaves before serving)