Sunday, May 1, 2011

Choose Your Own Adventure Pinto Beans

Do you remember those "Choose Your Adventure" novels from childhood?  You know, "Bob opens the door, turn to page 34.  Bob runs away screaming with his tail tucked between his legs, turn to page 39."  I used to love those things.  It was always fun to have a say in what happened to the main character, and to be able to read more than one version of the same story.

These beans remind me of those novels because they are so versatile.  You can change them up each time you make them- kind of like a Choose Your Own Beany Adventure.  (Yes, I know I'm a dork!)  Add a splash of salsa, cook on the stovetop, or break out your slow cooker.  Garnish with sour cream, sprinkle with cheddar, diced onions, and cilantro- or don't.  It's all up to you- the possibilities are endless!  And, unlike poor Bob, none of your choices will lead to an unfortunate encounter with, say, the talons of a 50-foot hawk-tiger.

An Ommy Noms original

Serves 8


1 lb bag of pintos, sorted, rinsed, and soaked overnight
1 can medium-heat rotel, drained
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalepeno with seeds and membranes removed, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz carton chicken broth
1 pkg sausage, cut into sections -OR- 1 smoked ham hock
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste


*** First, start by soaking the beans for at least 8-12 hours.  I usually soak them overnight. Once you're ready to cook, drain the beans, sort them to remove rocks and dirt clods, then re-rinse them a time or two.

1. Combine all ingredients, except the Rotel, in a large pot. Add water until all ingredients are covered.

2. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook over a low boil for 2 1/2 hrs or until tender.  Add Rotel and cook an additional 15 minutes. 

3.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.  Serve over rice.

Slow Cooker:
1.  Combine all ingredients, except the Rotel, in a medium to large crock pot.  Cook on low for 10 hours or high for about 6 hours.  Add Rotel in the last 30 minutes of cooking.

2.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.  Serve over rice.
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