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I love beans. I’ve always loved beans. I have a long love affair with beans. I remember being in elementary school and ordering pintos and cheese from the Taco Bell drive through as my mom was shuttling my brother and I from an afternoon activity to a family friend. Unfortunately, I accidentally dumped those pintos and cheese all over my pants that night and was deprived from those delectable pinto beans. Regardless, to this day, I will still get my typical Taco Bell order: a tostada and pintos and cheese. When beans are properly prepared, they have such a creamy texture and rich flavor. When I learned how to cook beans at home, I felt like I opened a door to a whole new culinary adventure. One that was not only astonishingly easy, but so delicious, incredibly healthy, and so easy on the wallet!
This recipe is a go-to in our house. Like, we actually cook these pinto beans once a month in some sort of iteration–bean tacos (our favorite!), bean burrito bowls, bean and mushroom enchiladas, bean and egg skillets. While coking beans takes some time on the front end as you need to soak beans overnight or quick-soak, once you have all the ingredients in, you literally just bring to a simmer and let the beans cook for about 30-45 minutes.
I simmer my beans with a diced onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, jalapeño, and liquid smoke. I found that the mixture of these ingredients flavor the beans throughout and are well balanced so you’re not being hit in the face with onion, garlic, or jalapeño flavor. The liquid smoke gives a slight smokiness that will trick you into thinking you’ve cooked these pinto beans over an open fire for hours. I use this liquid smoke that I found at Joe’s Butcher Shop in Carmel, Indiana when Neal and I lived in our little one-bedroom apartment up there. It’s a little pricey for a bottle, but as you will rarely add more than 1 tsp. for a recipe, a bottle will last you forever. I’ve also seen liquid smoke in the barbecue aisle at Meijer and some Walmart. Just be sure you choose one that does not use artificial flavorings.
Please enjoy this recipe below for my favorite Pinto Beans. If try it and enjoy it, leave me a comment! I love getting comments and feedback on the recipes I post!
Serve with quick-pickled red onions or tomatillo sauce! YUM!
- 2 cups pinto beans dry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 jalapeno roughly chopped and seeds removed (can sub with serrano peppers)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves smashed
- 3/4 tsp liquid smoke
- Rinse and pick through the beans. Place in a pot covered with water. Soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Alternatively, fill the pot with water, bring to a boil for a minute, turn off the heat, and let sit for an hour. Drain and rinse beans.
- Add enough fresh water to the pot to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Add the olive oil, onion, jalapeño, salt, garlic, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans or about 30 - 45 minutes, until the beans are tender. The cooking time will fluctuate depending on how dry your beans are and the soaking method. You want them to be tender, but not smoosh completely when squeezed. Drain the remaining liquid.