Oklahoma Beans

When I was a kid growing up in Central Oklahoma in the sixties, my folks sent my brothers and I to ‘friends’ to watch us during the day while my mom attended college getting her master’s. We bounced around some from place to place, and one summer we were left with a family of white trash during the day.

I don’t know how we my folks knew them, or what their daddy did for a living, but for lunch every, we had beans and corn bread. I can still smell how the aroma of those beans filled the house as the noon hour approached…and now, you can too.

Overnight, soak 1 lb dry pinto beans with a tablespoon of salt; enough water to cover them; about an inch or so. The more beans, the more water. They will still soak up water as they cook, so keep an eye on the water level.

After 12 hours, drain and rinse well, and place in crock pot with again, enough water to just cover them.

I use a half pound of bacon, thick or thin your choice, sliced into half inch wide pieces. Cook them in a skillet  over medium heat until a lot of fat is rendered, and the bacon is just starting to brown and add it to the beans. Stir in gently.

Start timing after your beans begin to simmer, and simmer for four hours. Avoid stirring after this as it can break up your beans and cause them to split.

If you have to add water to boiling beans, be sure your additional water is boiling too, or it will cause beans to split, and take a seemingly endless period of time before returning to boil.

Salt your beans as you serve them, not while cooking.

I often place a whole carrot in the beans. Supposedly, it will reduce the gas effects. Regardless, it adds flavor.

This is a small recipe I use for my 3 qt crock pot. If I use my 6 quart, I use 1 1/2 lbs dry beans. A large pot on stove works well too.

I have found at the grocery store in the bacon section a product called “Bacon Ends and Pieces”. It is 3-4 lbs of bacon odds and ends. It’s a lot cheaper than 3-4 lbs of bacon, and just as good. I divided the whole box up into sandwich bags of 1/2 lb each, and placed all in a gallon zip bag and froze them. A single batch of beans, one bag…double batch two bags, etc.

Old fashioned corn bread is best with this.

1 c corn meal

1 C flour

1 C milk

2 T sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 salt

1/4 shortening

1 egg

Preheat oven to 425°. Mix dry ingredients first, then add others. Blend slowly, then mix briskly for 1 minute. Pour into greased cast iron skillet or 8×8 glass pan for 22 minutes.

Note:

It’s always a good idea to rinse your beans before soaking as they may, and probably will, contain dirt or gravel. Be especially wary if you buy your beans in bulk from the “big barrel” at the store. This would require painstakingly manually sorting the beans on your kitchen counter to rid the gravel. Believe me, if you bite into a hunk of gravel, it will not be pleasant.

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