|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
These country-style pinto beans start with dry pinto beans. The simmered pinto beans are finished in the oven with the addition of diced leftover ham, chopped vegetables, and a bold, flavorful molasses and ketchup sauce. Bell peppers, bacon drippings, and onions add flavor to the dish.
Feel free to use leftover pulled pork or beef brisket in these beans in place of the ham. For a vegetarian version, use vegetable oil instead of the bacon drippings and omit the ham. An 8-ounce can of tomato sauce makes a good replacement for the ketchup.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans (2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (about 1 cup diced)
- 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
- 2 cups ham (cooked and diced, about 12 ounces)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried mustard
Rinse the beans and pick them over, checking them for bits of gravel or small stones. Discard any malformed or damaged beans.
Pour 1 1/2 quarts of water into a large saucepan or Dutch oven and place it over high heat. Bring the water to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the beans. Cover the pan and let the beans stand overnight.
The next day, place the beans over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans for about an hour, or until they are tender.
Heat the oven to 325 F.
Drain beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid.
Peel the onion and dice it.
Add the bacon drippings to a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat; add the diced onion and diced green pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
In a 2-quart casserole or Dutch oven, layer the cooked, drained beans with the cooked onions and peppers and the diced ham.
Combine the reserved liquid with the remaining ingredients and pour over the bean mixture.
Cover the pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Tips and Variations
Try to keep the beans at a gentle simmer, which is below the boiling point. The temperature of the simmer should be about 180 F 190 F as opposed to the boiling point of 212 F. The liquid will be nearly still with a few bubbles now and then.
Add some heat to the beans with 1/4 teaspoon (or more) of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
Instead of molasses, add 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar or honey.
Increase the bell pepper to 1/2 cup and use part red or orange for a more colorful dish.
Replace the salt with Cajun or Creole seasoning, to taste.
Instead of diced ham, add a leftover meaty ham bone or ham hocks to the beans. When the beans are almost ready, remove the meat from the bones, chop it, and add it back to the beans.