Sunday, October 05, 2008

Beans & rice for lunch

I am such a fan of Pioneer Woman Cooks! and as soon as I saw her recipe knew I wanted to make some beans & cornbread of my own. I didn't follow her recipes, but loved the outcome just the same.

Michelle's Pinto Beans
(Pressure Cooker Method)

4 hamhocks
1 lb. pinto beans, rinsed and picked over for debris
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 lb. bacon ends & pieces, sliced into 1 inch pieces
2 pks Goya Brand Sazon Goya con Culantro y Achiote
3 Tbsp. Goya Brand Sofrito
salt & pepper to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)

Place hamhocks into pressure cooker and cover with water by 2 inches. I use a 7 quart digital pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. After pressure is released, remove hamhocks to cool. To the stock in the pot, add pinto beans, garlic, and bacon. Cook at high pressure for 27 minutes. After pressure is released, add Sazon Goya, Sofrito, salt and pepper, and cayenne (if you want them spicy). Cook for another 15 minutes on high pressure. I like my beans so that I can smash some and leave some whole. I then uncovered them and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Remove meat from hamhocks and add to beans. After thinking about this, I probably could have put the beans in with the hamhocks and eliminated the first step but I wanted to tell you how I made this batch. I have read that if you add salt to beans while they're cooking they'll remain hard. This is why I add the seasoning after they're cooked. Cook bacon until crisp and stir into the pot before serving.

I like to eat mine over rice, which is half white & half brown rice. My family won't eat plain brown rice and I want them to get more fiber in their diets. I'm surprised they never complained about this.

Since Ree serves her beans with cornbread, I had to make some, too. Unlike Ree, however, I prefer my cornbread on the sweet side. Here is the recipe I used to make my corn muffins. It's from the box of Albers yellow cornmeal that I had.

Sweet Corn Muffins
(Makes 18-20 muffins)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Albers Yellow Corn Meal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degreese. Grease or paper-line 18-20 muffin cups.

Combine flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk, eggs, vegetable oil and butter in small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture, stir just until blended. Pour into prepared muffin cups filling 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool slightly. Serve warm.

For corn bread:

Pour batter into greased 8" square baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

I loved these beans so much that even though I made pork chops for dinner, I ate another helping of beans and rice instead.

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