Vegetable Recipes

Dutch Oven Pinto Beans

Baked beans go great with outdoor grilled meats.  James Beard, in his classic
Treasury of Outdoor Cooking, included seven recipes, all with lots of aggressive seasonings such as onions, garlic, mustard, ham hocks or sausage and cognac or bourbon.  Reason: beans absorb it all and deliver complex hints of whatever you put in the pot.  However, to achieve this end requires cooking time. 

Over the past three weeks, TLW made two pots of beans–one in the oven and the second on the stove top.  If your Dutch oven is made of heavy cast iron or enameled cast iron, firing the pot either way will produce the same excellent results.  She prefers using the stove top.  It’s faster.  Here’s the recipe as it evolved, initially inspired by an ingredients list in a recent issue of Fine Cooking.

Dutch Oven Pinto Beans

Yield:  12-15 

See Abbreviations, if needed

1 lb        pinto beans, soaked in cold water overnight

3T          unsalted butter

1           onion, diced

2           gloves garlic, diced

1T          mild ancho chile powder

1T          medium chipotle chile powder

1T          cumin, ground

1/2t        allspice, ground

8            grinds of peppercorn

1            ham hock or 1C of smoked ham pieces

4C         beef broth

1C         coffee, brewed

1/3C      molasses

1/3C      ketchup

1T         Worchester sauce 

4           dashes of Tennessee Sunshine or other hot sauce–not Tabasco

2T         bourbon

1.  Drain the beans and set aside

2.  In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat and
sauté the onions to transparent and then  add the garlic–don’t burn

3.  Over low heat, add the spices to the onion mix, stir and sauté
to aromatic

4.  Add the beef broth, BTB and then reduce to simmer

5.  Add the ham and the beans and bring the pot to simmer on the
stove top and cook, covered, until the  beans are bitable but clearly not done, about 45-60 minutes (or about 60-75 minutes in a  preheated 300F oven)–but be sure they are cooked to bitable at this step

6.  Remove the pot from the heat, uncover, cut the ham meat off
the bone, remove the bone  and any ham fat and then gently stir in the
coffee, molasses, ketchup, Worchester and hot sauce 

7.  Return the pot to the stove top and simmer, uncovered, until
the beans are soft to the bite but  still give some resistance, about 45 minutes (or 60+ minutes in the oven) or a little longer–but  don’t cook them until the beans start to fall apart

8.  About half way through Step 7, taste the sauce and adjust
for salt (remember, beef broth and ham  are salty)

9.  Add the bourbon and hold at this step, or …

10. Serve ladled into heated bowls or, with a slotted spoon, onto heated
plates with the entrée

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