Monday, February 15, 2010


New Mexico style baby! Pinto beans with ham chunks. Oh yeah.
These beans were inspired simply by desire. That and some ham hocks that I had. They're simple, and without much knowledge other than observation last year in my roommate's kitchen, I think I nailed down the recipe. They're great. You can eat them straight, with rice, as a dip with chips, or mash them a day later and make a refried bean burrito. Seriously top notch.

1 package of dry pinto beans
A soup pot full of water
1 package of two ham hocks or some kind of real ham with a bone in it
(a real ham bone with leftover meat on it makes your day here)

Olive oil for sautee
4 smashed cloves of garlic
1 onion chopped

3 cubes chicken or beef bouillon
2-3 tbsp Cumin
2-3 tbsp mildish Chile powder
Garlic powder
Onion powder

Cooking Directions:
Of course you could use good quality stock, or chick broth from a can, I just like how the little cubes give you the salt you want, some flavor, and they take up no space. You probably always have it somewhere in the cupboard, so in a bind, they work well enough.

Start with some garlic and onion in the pot. Sautee that down til it's transparent. You could also add some jalapeno, bell pepper, or other stuff, but really the beans are the main attraction, and this isn't chile con carne, so keep the added stuff to a minimum. At the same time in the same pot I throw in the ham chunks to brown up a bit. Not super important to do that early on, but that browning on the bottom of the pan only adds to the flavor later. When the ham and your veggies are looking good, add the beans and lots of liquid. I fill the pot to an inch or two from the top.

You are going to boil this whole thing for about 4 hours, or until the ham falls apart but the beans are still whole. It thickens itself. As it cooks, adjust your seasoning and add cumin and chile powder to your liking along with the garlic and onion powder. This is a preference thing, but you don't have to be shy with a big pot of beans. You could also add hot sauce, green onions, cilantro. You could always leave out the meat too, but if your a carnivore, please follow these suggestions.

When it's done, like I said, the ham should be tender and falling apart leaving big chunky bits throughout the beans. The bones can be pulled out to save everyone surprise dental work. And then eat up whichever way you see fit. This makes a lot of beans, so use them for a party, re-fry them, eat them for lunch and give some away. I always enjoyed them and never got enough, so it's good that I divined how to do it since I've left New Mexico.

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