These easy crock pot pinto beans are cooked with ham and a variety of chopped vegetables and seasonings. The dish is hearty and satisfying.
Beans sometimes stay firm when cooked in the slow cooker, so in this recipe I cook them on the stovetop first until they're tender. If you decide to cook them in the slow cooker without soaking or simmering in advance, put them in the slow cooker with 6 cups of water and all ingredients except salt. Cook them for about 6 to 7 hours on low, or until tender, and then add the salt and continue cooking for an hour or two. Or cook them on high for about 3 hours, or until tender. Add the salt and continue cooking on low for an hour or two.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and washed
- 3 cups water
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 to 8 ounces cooked ham, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- Put the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water to a depth of about 2 inches above the beans. Let stand overnight; drain. Put beans in a large Dutch oven or stockpot; cover with fresh water, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.
- Place the beans in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker with the water and remaining ingredients, except salt.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours, or until beans are soft. Stir a couple of times during cooking and add more water if necessary. Add salt, to taste.
Serves 8 to 10.
Tips and Variations
- Instead of diced ham, cook the peas with a large meaty ham hock or two small ham hocks.
- Replace the diced ham with about 12 ounces of diced browned smoked sausage. Add it near the end of the cooking time.
- Add a few teaspoons of minced jalapeno pepper or about 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Add 2 medium dried bay leaves to the beans.
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