These basic pinto beans are a Southern favorite. They're great for parties and potluck dinners, and they go well with barbecue, tacos or burritos, and fried chicken.
The ham hock seasons the beans, but feel free to taste and add salt after the beans are tender and the ham is chopped and added back to the slow cooker.
Serve these pinto beans with freshly baked cornbread or cornbread muffins.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
- 1 large or 2 small smoked ham hocks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 cups water
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Rinse the beans in a colander under cold running water. Sort through them and discard any malformed beans or small pebbles.
Place the beans and ham hocks in the crock pot with bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Cover with the water. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on high, or until the beans are tender.
Remove the ham hock and dice or shred the meat.
Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
Serve the pinto beans with freshly baked cornbread.
Tips and Variations
- Besides cornbread, many Southerners swear by sweet or hot pepper relish or chow chow with their beans.
- Give them Tex-Mex flavor. Add chili powder, to taste, and serve with corn or flour tortillas or crushed tortilla chips.
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