Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pinto Beans and Chile-Cheese Cornbread

Every so often, especially when good “football weather” hits, I feel an overwhelming urge for a big pot of pintos and cornbread. TJ makes the most fabulous chile-cheese cornbread, and I have to say the pintos aren’t half bad either! It’s easy to make even on weeknights if you plan ahead, and will leave 2 people with leftovers for at least a day or two.

Get out a sack of pinto beans and discard the ugly, broken ones. Pour the beans in a big bowl, cover with water, and let it sit overnight. Cut up a big onion and cut the meat off a ham hock. Put this in a bowl or zip bag to use in the morning.

In the morning before you go to work, drain the beans and pour them in the crock-pot. Add the onion, ham, and the following seasonings:
1T minced garlic
1-2 T. chili powder (use smoky-style flavor, if you can find it)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Add enough water to cover the beans (about 3 cups), turn the crock-pot on low, and leave for work. When you get home, the kitchen should smell awesome, beans will be ready, and all you need to do is mix up some chile-cheese cornbread and you’re done!

Chile-Cheese Cornbread
¼ c. solid shortening
Self-rising cornmeal
1 egg
Shredded cheddar cheese
Small tin of chopped jalapenos

Preheat the oven to 450. Put about ¼ cup of solid shortening (Crisco) in the bottom of an iron skillet and put it in the oven to heat. Follow the directions for regular cornbread (not buttermilk) on the back of the self-rising cornmeal box, and add 1 good handful of shredded cheddar cheese and ½ of a small tin of chopped jalapenos. Pour the batter in the hot skillet (the shortening should’ve melted, leaving a lovely pool of liquid in the bottom of the pan) and bake until the top is slightly browned. When it’s ready, put a dinner plate over the top of the skillet and turn it over – the cornbread should slide right out. Serve hot with lots of butter.


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