This time of year is always schizophrenic in Tennessee. It’s not spring yet but we’re starting to see blooms on the trees already. One day it’s 70 degrees, the next day it’s 40 degrees. One day there’s snow flurries, the next day it’s warm enough to go without jacket. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I would much rather have it this way than to have snow up to my knees like some parts of the country. Until my spring fever kicks in, I’m clinging to winter comfort food like Linus to his blanket.
Pinto beans and cornbread are totally comfort food.
Until I got my current crock pot, I didn’t mess with dried beans much. The whole process of soaking beans before you could cook them annoyed me. Now with the crock pot, I can toss all of my ingredients in there and they’ll be perfectly cooked when I get home. LOVE IT! Dried beans have a slightly different texture that I prefer over canned beans. Plus there’s none of that slimy white goo to rinse off.
These beans are a toned down version of the charro beans that I used to get from a local restaurant. The restaurant version was almost too hot to eat so I wanted to be careful about the heat. I only added 1 pepper to give a little kick but you can add as many as you want. Adding the fresh salsa or pico de gallo at the end, brightens these beans up and gives them a different twist.
These definitely aren’t the beans I grew up eating.
If you’re still cooking with ham hocks, I encourage you to give smoked turkey parts a try. They’re less greasy and usually less salty than ham hocks, plus the meat is delicious have it’s cooked in the crock pot all day. Remove the skin before you start cooking them to cut down on some of the fat in these beans.
[learn_more caption="Picking Dried Beans" state="open"] When using dried beans, make sure you sift through them several times to find all of the rocks and clumps of dirt. I put the beans in a bowl and sort through them by the handful into a colander. I try to go through them at least twice. Crunching down on a rock while you’re enjoying your beans isn’t cool at all. After I’ve picked out any foreign objects, I rinse them really well under cold water a few times. [/learn_more]
Spicy Pinto Beans with Smoked Turkey
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 1 diced large onion
- 1 diced Serrano or jalapeno pepper
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound smoked turkey parts ( I used thighs)
- 1/2 fresh hot salsa or pico de gallo
- Add all ingredients except salsa to crock pot
- Cook on high for 5 hours or 9 hours on low or until beans are soft.
- Pull out the turkey parts and remove meat from bones. Shred and add meat back to crockpot.
- Stir in salsa.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Number of servings (yield): 8