I love pinto beans. To me, no other bean approaches the range and variety the pinto offers. Charro beans, barracho beans, refried beans, beans with franks, beans with bacon or ham, or beans with onions and pico de gallo. There are so many ways to eat pinto beans, and most of them deliver a pretty healthy meal.
They go with cornbread. They go with veggies. They go with every kind of meat. They make potatoes better. It's hard to find a meal some kind of pinto bean dish won't fit.
When we were kids, we would have a big pot of pinto beans about once a week. There might be some chunks of meat, maybe some ham, in the beans. But other than that, our evening meal would be without meat on that night. There were not a lot of those chunks of meat, but each one was a nugget of tasty meat to enhance the deliciousness of the pinto beans.
I like my beans cooked until they're soft, but not mushy. Some folks like them cooked until they sort of begin to lose their structure. I like them when they are not hard, but still have a little sense of shape and form in them. The soup created by cooking the beans is important to me. I favor the basics: salt, pepper, a little spicy stuff, a little garlic stuff.
Sometimes I will cook beans with a strip or two of bacon. Sometimes I will cook beans with chunks of summer sausage or links of link sausage. Sometimes I will cook beans with a chunk or two of ham. Cured meat is a favorite of mine to add taste to beans.
While I like beans with meat added, I also like them without meat added. Sometimes beans and veggies seem like the way to go. I am a meat eater, but I know that a quality veggie meal can be good for the body.
Tex Mex is a kind of food I don't think I could stand to be without. I have eaten Mexican food at least once a week for years. I never get tired of it. I never find the food boring. And those beans are central to most Mexican food dishes. I like my frijoles cooked as Charro beans, with some delicious veggies mixed in. That's good eatin'!
Beans are inexpensive. For a dollar, you can cook a pot of beans that will feed a group of people one or two good meals. With a few dollars for other things to have with it, a real meal that delivers good food to the body can be achieved.
Introduce your children to beans that come dry in a bag and have to be washed and soaked, and then cooked for hours. There's hardly any food on the market that is as inexpensive and delivers such a sound combination of nutritious components.
© 2012, Jim “Pappy” Moore, All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. email@example.com