Tex-Mex Beans From Scratch
16 oz of dried pinto beans
1 - 2 lemons, optional (See note in step one)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of chicken, pork, or beef stock
1 large sweet or yellow onion
3 heaping tablespoons of bacon fat (I used the fat from organic/nitrate free bacon)
4 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
3 "Oven Roasted Chilies" or 1 (7 oz) can of fire roasted chilies
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 heaping cup of fresh cilantro with upper stems
onions and cilantro
1. As I mentioned before I've learned that soaking grains in an acidic medium for 8 to 12 hours helps to neutralize phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors making nutrients more readily available to our bodies and more easily absorbed. For more information on the value of soaking grains visit these two blog posts: "The Value of Soaking Your Grains" and "What's the Fuss About Soaking Grains? Explanation and Research Shared." Place beans in a large pot of water. The water should top the beans by 2 inches. Add the juice of one or two lemons and soak the beans for 12 to 24 hours. I soaked my beans for 24 hours.
2. Drain, rinse, and place beans in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4 to 8 hours or as long as it takes for the bean to be completely soft all the way through. Be sure to check on the beans occasionally and add more water if necessary. This step can also be done in a slow cooker. Cover the beans in water and cook on low for 8-9 hours or cook on high for 4-5 hours
3. When the beans are soft they are ready to add the flavor. At this point the beans should be finished on the stove top. remove the lid and add the stock. (I always have stock available in my freezer in canning jars).
4. As the liquid in the beans are reducing chop the onion.
5. Melt 3 heaping tablespoons of bacon fat into another pot. Note: you could swap the bacon fat for olive oil and make this recipe South Beach Phase 1 friendly.
6. Add onions and cook over medium heat until they are soft and translucent.
7. Add diced chilies, salt, pepper, and garlic to the onions. Stir and let the flavors meld for a few minutes.
8. Add the onion mixture to the beans along with a teaspoon of cumin and mix well.
9. Remove two cups of beans and place them in a small mixing bowl.
10. Add the cilantro to the small mixing bowl, and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
11. Add the blended beans back into the large pot of beans to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed (adding more salt, pepper, garlic to taste). You could even add a pinch of cayenne. When it's cook approved it's ready to serve.
12. Serve a scoop of beans with the optional garnishes of sour cream, onions, cilantro, queso fresca, or whatever else sounds good to you.
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