Pinto Beans and Cornbread was/is a staple in many homes, particular in the southern states. My Mother would occasionally make a pot of beans but it was usually met with disdain by our meat and potatoes Iowa farm family.
When I met my husband, raised in southern Missouri, I quickly learned that Pinto Beans, Cornbread and all of the fixin’s was a much-loved meal. My husband, Karl, usually took charge of this meal but I’ve learned to make it in the crockpot vs. watching it all day on the stove.
Karl and his family serve the pinto beans, cornbread and butter with cooked mustard greens (today it was green beans), corn, fresh sliced tomatoes, and fresh onion.
I prefer a small slice of cornbread with a few beans and a lot of bean stock and vegetables. My big finish…a larger piece of cornbread drowning in honey. Oh yeah!
SLOW COOKED PINTO BEANS
16 ounce package of dried pinto beans
1 ham hock
1/2 large onion, cut into pieces
black pepper to taste
Cover with water (about 1-2″ above the beans)
Place all of the above in a large crockpot on low setting. I typically start the crockpot in the evening and let it cook all night. In the morning, I add water as needed and cook until ready to serve (lunch or dinner). You may need to turn the setting to high in the morning if the beans are still very hard.
Once cooked, remove the ham hock and cool. Remove any bits of ham and return to the beans.
My husband, Karl, was the official cornbread maker in our house. His cornbread is not sweet and is typically served with a pot of pinto beans with ham, cooked greens, fresh tomatoes and onions. I also like to serve cornbread with my 5-hour Beef Stew (to be posted another day) or chili. I always save a piece to drown in honey from my neighbor, Gary’s, beehives.
CORNBREAD the old fashioned way
1 tablespoon bacon grease (or canola oil)
1 cup white corn meal
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup corn oil
1 cup milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put one tablespoon bacon grease (heaping) in an iron skillet and let skillet get up to temperature of the oven. Take paper towel and spread grease throughout skillet. Pour off excess grease. You can be doing this while you are mixing the ingredients.
Mix dry ingredients. Beat egg and add wet ingredients. Mix. Blend dry and wet ingredients and stir well. You might need to add milk for the mixture needs to be runny.
When skillet is hot pour ingredients into it. Do not burn your hands. It’s easy to reach out and grab the skillet handle without using a pad or glove. Bake for 27 minutes.
Let cornbread cool for a few minutes, then invert onto plate. Serve warm with butter and honey or with the traditional pot of pinto beans, stew or chili.