Friday, April 18, 2014

Peppery pinto beans with sausage

1 pound dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or bacon grease
1 pound smoked kielbasa, cut into ½ inch dice
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 to 4 jalapeños, seeded, stemmed, and diced (depending on how hot you want it)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Sliced jalapeños, for serving

Rinse and sort the beans. Place in a large pot or Dutch oven, cover with two inches of water, bring the pot to a boil then turn off the heat, cover the pot, and allow the beans to soak for an hour. After an hour when the beans have almost doubled in size, drain and rinse the beans and rinse the pot.

Place the pot back on the stove and add the oil. Heat up the oil on medium-low heat. Add the sausage, and while occasionally stirring, cook until it just begins to crisp and some of the fat is rendered, about 3-5 minutes. Add to the pot the onion and jalapeños and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Pour in the water and deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate any stuck bits.

Return the beans to the pot and add enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch, about 6 more cups. Stir in the cilantro, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt, turn the heat up to high and bring the pot to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to low and then cook partially covered until tender, which can take anywhere from 2 hours to 3 ½ hours, depending on the age of the beans.

Keep an eye on the beans as they cook, making sure the liquid doesn’t get too low (if it does, add about ¼ cup more water to the pot) and gently stir every half hour or so. I also like to taste the broth after 1½ hours and see if the seasonings need any adjusting. You’ll know they’re done when the broth is rich and brown with most of the vegetables dissolved, and the beans, of course, are tender.

When the beans are done to your satisfaction, taste again and adjust the seasonings—at this point I usually add a few more dashes of salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Serve the beans warm topped with sliced jalapeños, though if you have the time, let the beans rest overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat, as they only get better the next day

Yield: 8 servings

Melissa Note: I did test the recipe in a slow cooker, cooking the sausage, jalapeños, onions, and garlic in a skillet before adding them along with the soaked pinto beans and the rest of the ingredients. I left out the jalapeños also. Brother Phil shared this from

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