Hubby planned to cook a brisket Sunday, so I started soaking beans Saturday night for a “big pot of beans” to serve on the side. Despite their nutritional value, I had not necessarily been a fan of beans until I moved to Texas where I was introduced to Ranch Style Beans. They’re the brand in a black and yellow can with bold white letters; big pinto beans in a soupy, flavorful sauce; spicy, not painfully hot. I had first been inspired to make my own pot of beans when Food Network’s Pioneer Woman made campfire beans. I googled several recipes, and, of course, I’ve developed my own variation. This is my recipe: 1 lb dried beans (preferably pinto, but black or whatever you have in the pantry) 1 small/medium yellow onion, chopped 4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer no salt added) Leftover BBQ ribs* 3 beef bouillon cubes, crushed 1 tsp brown sugar 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 1/2 tsp oregano 3 Tbs chili powder 1 Tbs Louisiana hot sauce 1 bay leaf *Add meat for some smoky, meat flavor. If you don’t have leftover ribs, add leftover BBQ chicken or even diced steak. If you don’t have leftovers from BBQ night, start by frying 4 slices bacon and then saute the onion in the bacon fat. Soak the beans overnight. (If you got started late, look up a quick-soak method.) When you begin cooking, drain off the soaking liquid from the beans. Heat a little olive oil in the bean pot; Saute onion; Season with 1/2 tsp salt; Add garlic. Add the tomatoes to the bean pot; Season with another 1/2 tsp salt; Snuggle in the meat. Add 2 cans water. We have a friend who would say to add a beer, so reduce water added and substitute a beer if you’d like. Crush bouillon cubes in the bottom of a measuring cup and add hot water to equal one cup; Stir to dissolve the bouillon; Add to the bean pot. Add the rest of the spices; Stir! Add the soaked, drained beans; Stir! Heat to boil; reduce to simmer. Simmer, simmer, simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings. Re-heated leftovers make a quick lunch or a hearty snack. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt is good to add creaminess.
Big Pot o’ Beans