I use to always love talking to my grandmother about food. We would talk about all the new recipes we’ve tried and others we wanted to still make. I vividly remember one day telling her about how I had just made Chicken and Rice casserole but with my own homemade condensed soups. She looked at me like I had lost my mind and said, “Melody, WHY would you ever do that? Don’t you ever just make anything simple?”
I laughed and said, “Well of course Mayme I make Pinto Beans and Cornbread all the time.”
She tossed her hands up in the air and said, “Aw Foot!”
My grandpa then chimed in from the living room and said, “I like Pinto Beans and Cornbread!”
To me Pinto Beans and Cornbread is simple food at its finest and truly is one of my favorite meals to eat. In fact I eat this so often that I almost always double the recipe for the beans and freeze the leftovers which make the perfect refried beans!
This recipe is my simplest recipe for Pinto Beans and can be made with as much spice and garlic as you like. The pictures you see are a doubled recipe (for the beans) but I supplied the recipe for a single batch followed by my Great Grandmothers Cornbread Recipe.
And Cheers to the Simple Things in Life!
Jalapeño Pinto Beans
1 Pound Dried Pinto Beans
1 Ham Hock (if you can find it get a smoked ham hock)
2 Jalapeños, split lengthwise
1 Onion, peeled and left whole
Garlic, as much as you like 🙂
Black Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
6-8 hours before cooking (or overnight) sort through the beans and remove any discolored beans or pebbles. Soak the beans in about 8 cups of water for 6-8 hours.
After the beans have soaked drain and rinse the beans. In a large pot bring 8 cups of water, ham hock, jalapeños, garlic, the onion, and black pepper to a rolling boil (DO NOT ADD THE SALT YET). Add in the soaked pinto beans, and reduce heat to low and simmer with the lid ajar for 1 hour. Occasionally stir and check to see if more water is needed, you want the beans to have plenty of liquid. After one hour taste the beans to see if they are tender if so add salt to taste, (I usually add about a Tablespoon of Kosher Salt) and simmer for another 15 minutes.
If the beans still have a bit of a bite to them cook them for another 15 minutes then add the salt and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Serve the beans sprinkled with a little cheddar cheese and top with a little fresh pico de gallo along with a big hunk of cornbread.
Great-Grandmother Longs Cornbread
3/4 Cup White Cornmeal
1-1/2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup Buttermilk
2 Tablespoons Bacon drippings (or shortening )
Preheat oven to 450 degree along with a 8 inch heavy cast-iron skillet.
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Stir in the buttermilk. Add the drippings into a VERY hot skillet and then pour in the batter. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned.
**Note: The “Egg” Debate
My Great Grandmother Longs cornbread recipe originally doesn’t call for an egg. But when my Grandmother would make this she would sometimes whisk 1 egg in with the buttermilk… So whisk in 1 egg if you like.