If you’re anything like me, all of your extra grocery money these days is going towards baking ingredients in preparation of Christmas cookie season. While I don’t want to skimp on nightly meals (though I did buy a few boxes of macaroni and cheese today), I don’t think I’m alone in wanting some pared-down evening fare.
Say hello to the mighty bean. I’m not sure where my love for beans stems from. As a kid, I hated them. Wouldn’t touch my mom’s chili. Didn’t understand why everyone raved about the split pea and ham soup. And then, one day, it was just like I woke up and got it!
My preferred method is to make straight forward rice and beans – cook some garlic, green peppers and onion in the drippings from bacon or ham. But I also like to have at least one weeknight where I don’t have to worry about cooking – so I revised the recipe a little bit with inspiration from Pioneer Woman, who seems to know a thing or two about all things food.
To start, soak about two cups of pinto beans, which is covered in detail in this post. Once they’re good and rehydrated, rinse the beans and place them in a large soup pot. Cover with a few inches of water.
Now, to go totally vegetarian here, just add some salt and pepper and the spices of your choosing. Taking a cue from Pioneer Woman, I added bacon. About four thick slices – the kind you get from the butcher or meat counter, not the packaged stuff.
Now then – time for some seasoning. You could, as mentioned above, just go the S&P route. I’m thinking I want this to taste mostly like my rice and beans, or at least like the beans we get from our favorite local Mexican joint, Fresh Tortillas. So I added some Adobo seasoning, seen here and found in the international/Goya section of your supermarket.
You could also add some Sazon. And, because Mike likes it hot, I threw in a couple dashes of hot sauce.
Now, we wait. Let the beans simmer, covered, until tender and the liquid is significantly reduced. I let these go for about two hours – maybe a little more, and there was still a lot of liquid left. So I just scooped them out with a slotted spoon into some plastic containers. One will be for dinner this week, the other for refried beans another night.
You don’t want these to be bone dry, however, so I add a little of the cooking liquid back to the beans and bacon.
To finish off this meal, make your favorite rice and top with the reheated beans. Maybe serve with some cornbread, per Pioneer Woman. Or, you could make like your cooks and reheat the beans in the microwave, place them on top of a layer of tortilla chips spread out on a baking sheet, add some more Mexican hot sauce, cumin and cilantro, and top with cheese!
Serve with sour cream and salsa.
Nachos for dinner? Being an adult is awesome.