Today is bittersweet. My grandma headed home yesterday to Oregon after her extended stay of about a month. While she was staying here with me we got to talking with my mom about things that my great-grandmother use to cook for the family.
One of her most requested dishes was something she called 'red beans', but I should warn you... they aren't actually red beans like I would think (kidney beans.) They are pinto beans! I think she may have called them 'red beans' because they turn a sort of red color after they cook all day long.
At any rate, 'red beans' were something that she would cook up regularly. Friends and family apparently asked for them whenever they would come to visit!
I've basically taken the recipe from my mom and grandma and tweaked it just slightly to be a more healthy dish. My great-grandma was one of those that wasn't shy about using bacon grease in nearly everything she cooked. I won't judge though, the woman lived into her 90's!
My mom and grandma both say that my great-grandma's red beans were often a stand alone dish, only ever served with cornbread on the side!
I was a bit too young to remember many of my great-grandma's cooking years, but I hope that I was able to make her proud today. I did my very best to channel my inner Texas southern belle.
My Great-Grandma's "Red Beans"
Servings: 6 • Size: About 1 Cup of Beans • Calories: 101.7 • Fat: 0.8 g • Carb: 31.3 g • Fiber: 19.3 g • Protein: 10.8 g • Sugar: 1.3 g • Sodium: 48.3 mg
1 lb. Dry Pinto Beans
1 Medium Onion, Halved
3 Slices Center Cut Low Sodium Bacon, Raw
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1/2 Tsp. Cayenne
Sort through the beans, discarding any rocks and broken pieces.
Rinse and clean the beans in a colander.
Transfer the beans into a large stock pot.
Cover with 1-2 inches of water.
Secure the lid and set to soak overnight.
After a good 24 hours drain and rinse the beans once more.
Transfer them back into the stock pot and cover with another 2-3 inches of water.
Add in the bacon, onion, and salt.
Bring just to a boil on the stove.
Cover and reduce heat to medium-low or low and cook for 2-3 hours. You want them to just simmer. I left mine on the lowest setting on the stove since my stove tends to run a little hot.
Check and stir every 30 minutes.
Add a little more water if it starts to cook down too much - you want a little 'bean broth' going on there.
Once done, divide among bowls and serve with some warm cornbread!