SLOW COOKER PINTO BEANS : Frijoles de Olla
Along with tortillas, humble frijoles are a staple at almost every Mexican Food. That’s not to say they are boring or predictable. There are many savory and satisfying ways of cooking beans, but I am perfectly happy with nothing more than some good pinto beans served with warm tortillas, some kind of fresh salsa, and a grating of salty cotija cheese.
A great advantage of the slow cooker is that beans cook evenly and will not dry out. This recipe is good with typical medium-sized brownish beans, a category that includes not only pinto beans but also pink, red, mayocoba, peruviana, bayo, flor de mayo, and cranberry beans, as well as many other regional varieties. Serve these right from the slow cooker, make a batch of Frijoles Refritos, or freeze them.
So get out your slow cooker, buy some organic dried beans, and for two minutes of prep, you’ll have the best tasting beans to warm your heart all week long, and then some! Packed with fiber and protein, beans are a must if you’re trying to lose weight. So add them to smoothies, soups, salads, cooked whole grains, and pasta dishes, give them away to your buddies (who doesn’t want free beans?), or freeze them for later.
Makes 6 cups
2½ cups dried pinto or other beans (about 1 pound), rinsed and picked over
7½ cups water
1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper, or 6 chiles de árbol (optional)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10hours, or until the beans are very tender. (The timing depends on the age, type, and size of the bean.) There may be a fair amount of liquid left when the beans are done, but don’t drain them—the beans will absorb most of it as they cool, becoming even more flavorful and creamy.