|"Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit"|
I love using my crock pot to make yummy things. It is satisfying and fairly hard to mess up whatever you put in it (although I have made a few mistakes). The main star of tonight's meal was my crock pot pinto beans. Pinto beans are super easy to make in a crock pot, the only tricky part is making sure you leave enough room for water and the expansion of the beans. A good ratio is about 1 cup of dried beans per quart of capacity in your crock pot.
What I do is buy bulk, dry pinto beans (usually in the produce section which I find odd). Once you get them home sort through the ones you want to cook. You are looking for rocks, dirt clods, sticks and nasty looking beans. I usually sort them out on a large cookie sheet since I am clumsy. Once they are sorted pour them into a strainer and rinse them really, really well with cold water. Once they are clean add them to the crock pot and cover with cold water, make sure there is at least an inch of water over the beans. From here I add my seasonings: sea salt, cracked black pepper, fresh garlic and onions, a bay leaf, chili powder and comino were today’s culprits. When I am feeling cheeky I add diced pork salt. If you choose to use pork salt you can more than likely eliminate using any other salt. B.C., before children, I also added a jalapeno and cilantro or chipotle with adobo.
For the first few hours I cook them on high. After that time the bulk of the water has been absorbed so you should add HOT water now. Again, enough to cover them by about an inch.
I turn them down to medium or low at this time.
Everyone makes their beans differently. What you add and how long you cook them is really up to you. Find out what works for you and don’t be scared when you read about when to add salt and that you have to soak them in advance or drain off the liquid. If you mess up the most you are out is a few dollars. Sometimes when the beans are totally cooked I add a can of diced tomatoes.
As for the unpleasant side affects that beans cause some people, I find that we don't have the problem when I cook them in the crock pot. I think because I cook them for so long...as long as a day and half.
The rest of the meal was rounded out with chicken fajita tacos, smashed avocado, white rice using today’s secret ingriedient of flax seed and lots of lime juice on the chicken and avocado. Overall a huge success and probably one the girls top 3 favorite meals.