Frijolitos Pintos (Pinto Beans)

Four cups dry pinto beans

Four cups dry pinto beans

I’d never tasted canned beans until I moved outta my mama’s house. My family always sorted, cooked and served beans fresh off the stove. I learned how to clean beans at my grandma’s kitchen table where it was my grandpa’s job to remove the out-of-place pebbles and malformed frijoles.

In undergrad when Alex and I still lived in the dorms, I naively prepared a traditional New Mexican Lenten meal on Ash Wednesday in the dorm kitchen below my room.  Lesson learned.  Never start cooking beans at 10 pm when you’re already exhausted.  I swear, I roused Alex from sleep every half hour to go downstairs and “check the beans, stir the beans, make sure the beans have water” while I stayed in bed. I know, I’m a terrible girlfriend.

All that and I burned them anyway.

Canned beans are a fine alternative, especially when you’re short on time, but once you’ve tasted homemade beans I think you’ll know why they’re worth the effort.

Grocery List: 4 cups dried pinto beans,1 medium onion, 3 cloves garlic, salt (to taste)
And, for all of you who are not animal-product-challenged, 3 strips of raw bacon and a ham hock. Trust me.
Bad bean line up, good bean on bottom.

Bad bean line up, good bean on bottom.

Spread 4 cups dried beans on a flat surface and remove any beans that are too small, too black, broken, or shriveled (and any rocks of course).
Rinse beans thoughroughly with cold running water. Place in large boiling pot with onion and garlic (skin removed). I don’t presoak the beans, you can if you want as that will decrease cooking time. Cover beans with water filling the pot a good 6 inches above the beans. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low. Cook for 2.5 -4 hours you may need to add more HOT water as they cook. You’ll know they’re ready when they are tender and a pretty red dirt/adobe brown color. Add salt to taste.  You may remove the lid so some of the juice evaporates or you can eat them as a soup for a meal or two and strain them to serve with rice or mash for frijoles refritos. ¡Comé bien!
Alex's idea. Silly.

Alex's idea. Silly.

8 Responses to “Frijolitos Pintos (Pinto Beans)”
  1. morose says:

    bad bean line up … genius

    • Devon R. says:

      Really, no bacon??!?!?! Come on, you need bacon in beans!

      • gabriellemarielopez says:

        Hehe- definitely yes to bacon or even better a ham-hock… I just kept it optional for all of my vegan and non-pork eating friends.

  2. aylalilala says:

    All I have to say is Cilantro and Epazote! Epazote is a native Mexican plant that can either be brewed for a soothing sleepy tea or used in beans to save the pigeons. he he. From curry dishes to blended carrot soup to simple abuela beans, Cilantro should have VIP passes to the top of all your meals to liven up the party. I’m loving the police lineup!

    • gabriellemarielopez says:

      Haha thanks!
      I’m alllll about the cilantro (HUGE fan) but I try to restrain myself and serve it on the side since some people hate it!?! I’m gonna try the epazote though. Thanks for the tip!

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