Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Magical Fruit...

There are few foods in the world as complex and as beneficial as the small bean. It is representation of human history and is a basis in many cultures diet. Beans are as complex a carbohydrate as you can find and packs enough protein to substitute meat at proper amounts. Beans will be around longer than you and I. Its about time we all take this little friend for what it truly is, delicious.

In a previous post I already discussed the merits of adding beans to rice, but what if you just wanted beans and you wanted them in the most delicious fashion possible? Well I think I have that covered for you. Start with one bag (16 oz) or pinto beans. empty the contents into a pot of cool water and let sit at least 12 hours before you plan to cook. The newly soaked beans are swollen and ready.

Now this next step is up to you, but I think I have found the best option. You need some serious flavor. You want to add to the beans a bone, preferably with meat. Pork is the best option for this as it is salty and flavorful. Go to you local butcher and for a few dollars you can walk home with either a Ham Hock or a Ham End. Both have a ton of flavor, a good deal of meat, a lot of fat and will make your beans sing.

I chose the Ham End and your butcher would probably agree with me. Put these pieces into the beans fill with enough water to cover a few inches above beans. You want enough water that after a long boil you still have a soupy mixture. Add maybe a tea spoon of salt and put the pot to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let it sit for one hour.

After the boil, remove the ham end and cut as much meat as you can from the bone, dice that meat up and return to the pot. Discard the bones and fat. Return to boil, then simmer for twenty minutes.

Here is your choice. You can use a slotted spoon and remove your new treasures or you can use a ladle and get the broth as well. I choose the latter. A splash of tabasco sauce, or spicy white vinegar will make the flavor sing. Enjoy it, as I'm sure this will quickly become a family favorite.

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