I'm not sure what it is, but there's a piece of me that just loves a big ol' pot-o-beans. It is likely that my parents are to blame. Growing up, my mom went through a phase (a long one) where every Sunday she would make a big pot of beans and a loaf of delicious homemade bread. Mmm. It might seem random to you (it did to my husband) to eat beans as a meal, but we're New Mexicans; it's how we roll. Anyway, now that I am a mommy myself, I wanted to duplicate that-- not the weekly tradition, necessarily, but just exposing my family/children to the delicious simplicity that is a pot of beans with a side of homemade bread. And it really is simple. And delicious. And the best part is you can make the pot of beans and end up creating several meals out of it (more on that later). Yum. Frijoles. Ole!
RECIPE: Crock Pot Pinto Beans
4 c. dry pinto beans
1 ham hock (opt)
Before you do anything, sort through the beans and take out any particularly funky/damaged ones as well as any dirt or rocks you come across. Then rinse the beans well (I put them in a large bowl, cover them with water, swish them all around a bit with my hand, drain, and repeat- a few times).
You can soak the beans overnight at this point, but it is optional (and who thinks that far in advance, really).
Put the rinsed and drained beans in the crock pot. Add your ham hock. Cover with water (a couple of inches over, probably... the ham hock can poke out a bit, but you're doing a whole pot here so don't skimp). Sprinkle around a bunch of garlic powder and pepper as well as a bit of salt (you don't need much; the ham has enough to share). Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are soft and ham is fully cooked.
Serve alone or top with cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, lettuce, onions, any of that stuff. That's it! Enjoy!