|Hey. We never said we were trying to win Beautifullest Side Dish. Lay off.|
|I am not sure why the beans look so weirdly lacquered here.|
Makes tons (10-20 servings)
1 cup of purchased barbecue sauce is a good substitute for the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, cloves, and liquid smoke—although I confess to liking the flavor better in the more-ingredients version. Still don’t hesitate: the beans are delicious that way.
4 cups pinto beans (about 2 pounds) (Navy beans are traditional, but my devotion to big, succulent pinto beans knows no limit.)
3 tablespoon kosher salt (divided use) (or half as much table salt)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 cups water
½ cup ketchup
½ cup molasses
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon dry mustard (I like Coleman's)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Put the beans and 2 tablespoon salt in a pot and cover them with water by a generous 3 or 4 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat off, cover the pot, and leave them to soak for approximately an hour (a little more or less is fine!). Drain the beans.
Heat the oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker*, and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft and golden, around 8 or 10 minutes.
Add the drained beans to the pot, along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, the six cups of water, and all the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. Seal the lid, bring the cooker to pressure, and cook at steady, low pressure for 35 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow the pressure to release on its own.
Now take the lid off. The beans will seem too liquidy and fall-aparty, and you’ll think you’ve overcooked them. Fret not! With the lid off, simmer the beans over low heat for 30 minutes to an hour, until the beans firm up (oddly, they will) and the liquid gets nice and thick. Taste and adjust the seasonings (if they don’t taste robustly delicious, consider adding more salt, vinegar, or sugar). Serve.
* If you don’t have a pressure cooker (which you really should have, if you’re at all serious about beans), try this method instead, based on one in The Joy of Cooking:
Soak the beans, as above, but don’t add salt and don’t drain them. Instead, after an hour, bring them back to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 to 90 minutes, or until the beans are creamy but still intact. Drain them gently.
Now sauté the onions, as above, in a Dutch oven (or another lidded oven-safe pot), then add the beans, 3 cups of water (instead of 6) and the remaining ingredients (use 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt). Bake in a 250 oven until the liquid is thick and the beans are delicious: 4 to 5 hours. Taste for salt and other seasonings.
|This is a nice, inexpensive way to make a huge side dish.|
|I like that the garlic powder turned away at the last second--so coy and mysterious!|
|Beans soaked and drained.|
|Half these onions were destined for the veggie burgers. It was kind of a twofer situation.|
|This is the watery stage, when you'll be despairing. No worries! They'll boil down nice and thick.|