Pinto beans have always been popular in the southern and western areas of Texas. Cowboys of days past would carry them because dried beans would keep for long periods of time. Fortunately, pinto beans are still a popular side dish in modern kitchens today. They provide an economical source of protein, and are very easy to make.
Here is a pinto beans recipe that is fairly basic, but the great results are hard to beat. Some elements and ingredients derive from the old west, but this recipe offers a zestier kick, and incorporates more modern ingredients into the mix.
1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
8 cups water
1 12-ounce can Coca-Cola
1 14 1/2 ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 large onion, chopped
4 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
3 tablespoons quality (or homemade) chile powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 fresh serrano peppers, or 3 jalapenos, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Note: The Coca-Cola in the recipe adds a nice flavor to these pinto beans, but it also is believed to reduce the gaseous effects of eating beans.
In a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, combine all of the ingredients except for the pepper and salt. Over high heat, bring to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.
Cook slowly, and regularly stir up beans from the bottom to keep from sticking, for 2 or more hours. Add more water to the pot if the beans begin to go dry. Add the pepper and salt during the last few minutes of cooking.
The beans should be cooked throughout, and hold their shape, but be soft and a little bit soupy.
Serve these pintos in bowls with a little bit of the liquid. This can be served as a meal in itself, or as a delicious side dish for barbecued and grilled meats. This pot of pinto beans will serve from 4 to 6 hungry people.