Monday, October 2, 2017

One Pot Meals: Southern-Style Pinto Beans

When crisp, chilly October days arrive in Tennessee, I start dreaming of one-pot meals. They're for homebodies. However, one-pot meals aren't for exhausted cooks. When you are frayed and weary, the thing to do is have food brought to you--pizza or take-out Sweet and Sour Pork. But for cooks with a tad of energy, a pot of pinto beans can be a salvation. Dress them up with a loaf of deli bread and a tossed salad. Serve a cobbler and red wine if you'd like a fancy touch. Either way, you can't lose.

Southern-Style Pinto Beans

 What You Need:
1 heavy, lidded Dutch oven
1 cup chopped white onions
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups beef broth 
2 cups chicken broth
1 lb dry pinto beans 
2 fresh garlic pods, minced
2 ham hocks
6 slices bacon, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
cilantro and sliced green onions (garnish)
Freshly ground pepper

Soak beans overnight (cover with water). In the morning, pick out the floaters. Drain beans in colander.

In a heavy Dutch oven, add olive oil. Over a medium high flame, sautee onions. Add garlic and sautee 1 minute. Reduce flame to low. Season onions and garlic with salt, pepper, and ground spices (save the bay leaf for later). Stir.
Add liquid.
Add hocks and bacon. Stir.
Now set the bay leaf on top of the beans.
Cover the pan. Cook two hours over a low flame (use a flame tamer, if desired).
I like to put my beans on at noon, and they're ready by 2 or 3 p.m. 
Optional: garnish with sliced green onions and cilantro.

Serves: 6 to 8

For one pot cooking, I rely on a heavy lidded Dutch oven and a flame tamer.

If you're watching cholesterol, skip the ham hock and bacon--add liquid smoke. 
When you're ready to eat, remove the bay leaf (sometimes I forget).
Serve straight from the pan. Pass warm, buttered cornbread. 
Save the leftover beans for homemade refried beans. I don't have to sing their praises, but I can't help it. They are marvelous with cheesy burritos, loaded nachos, and taco salad.
Shared at:


  1. I love me some beans Michael! These sound smokey and great:@)

  2. Perfect comfort (and discomfort, lol) food. Your recipe looks like a winner, and I never thought of liquid smoke as a sub for the ham hock. Pinning, thanks.

    1. Tyler uses Liquid Smoke (I take a more judicious approach--a dab here and there, rather like my use of Tabasco). Too much can draw attention to itself in this dish, IMHO. I'm a bacon-and-ham hock girl, through and through!

  3. I'm a soup and casserole-loving girl! Since I'm a "mostly" vegetarian, I would add vegetable stock to this recipe which would, of course, alter the flavor, but I think the other ingredients add enough flavor to "punch" it up! And adding the cornbread, well...let's just say I'd be smacking my lips!

    1. Last spring, I made vegetarian pintos, and I used vegetable stock. It was really good (and a lot healthier!).

  4. Nothing like beans and cornbread. Housewives typically served this meal on wash day. Do you have a favorite cornbread recipe?

    1. Donna, I do have a few favorites (I tend to prefer white meal). For the cornbread in this post, however, I used a Martha White mix. We like that, too. And my grandmother swore by Jiffy.

  5. Michael Lee, it doesn't get any better than pinto beans and cornbread, true Southern fare! I must try your recipe and thanks for sharing it!

  6. I'm crazy about your tablecloth and the red serving pieces. Your bean dish looks delicious and I really like one dish meals, too.Of course, your styling ability is always enviable.

  7. You have me craving pinto beans now! Thanks for the recipe. I do the same thing with navy beans or great northern beans. Such a comforting Fall meal you've shared, especially with cornbread.