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When I was growing up, my father very rarely took over in the kitchenmy mother aptly handled the majority of our meals. But a couple Saturday mornings a month he'd go all out and make us a big breakfast, Arkansas-style. In the small Dutch community in West Michigan where we lived, his slight Southern accent, left over from a youth spent worshiping the St. Louis Cardinals and walking amongst cotton plants, definitely stood out. And so did his biscuits and gravy. Try as I might, I can't ever get that sinful white gravy quite like his.

I can, however, trump his pot of pinto beans. Like biscuits and gravy, making beans comes naturally to him because they're Southern, cheap, filling and delicious. They are completely opposite in one way thoughthe beans are actually good for you! I have no idea if traditionalists would guffaw at my version of pinto beans as I have never looked into other recipes. I just started out preparing them the way Dad told me and adapted that to my own tastes over the years. The beans come out creamy and so satisfying, and the leftover possibilities are pretty spectacular. I mix them with cooked, chopped chicken to stuff enchiladas or burritos or add some chili powder and puree them in a food processor for an amazing bean dip with tortilla chips.

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Crock Pot Pinto Beans

1 bag dried pinto beans

2 or 3 pieces bacon

1/2 cup diced white onion

1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 and 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 1 teaspoon salt

juice of half a lime

hot sauce

Soak beans overnight in water, making sure the water is a few inches above the beans. Rinse well. Pick out and remove any funny looking beans. Set aside. Chop bacon (or use a kitchen scissors, I couldn't live with out mine) into small pieces. Saute on medium heat with diced onion until onions are soft and bacon is just beginning to brown.

Pour one and a half cups chicken stock into the bacon and onion pan and deglaze. Place beans in the crock pot and top with the bacon, onions and stock. Add one and a half cups water, or enough so the beans are completely covered by about an inch. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Check the beans, if they are soft, they are done. Remove about 1 cup of beans and liquid from the pot and puree in a food processor or with a handy dandy immersion blender. Place the pureed beans back into the crock pot and stir (this gives the beans a creamier texture).

Stir in the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and lime juice. Add a few hefty glugs of your favorite Mexican style hot sauce. I really like to use Cholula Chili Garlic variety because it's not very spicy and the garlic flavor works well with the beans. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve just as they are or topped with cilantro, cheese or sour cream. A bowl of these beans make a great meal with a salad andcornbreador tortillasbut also work well as a side dish.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 09/24/2016