Easy Crock Pot Beans

Hello! A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for delicious home baked bread, and mentioned that it goes great with some beans! This is how I make my beans, it’s not so much a recipe as a formula that you can tweak to your liking! Pretty much like all of my favorite recipes, there isn’t too much thinking or measuring to do.

Start with dried beans of course, any variety will do but I usually use pinto. You can also use a mix of beans. Put a few cups into a big pot and soak overnight. Or don’t. Honestly! If you’ve always been a bean soaker it might be surprising to learn that you don’t HAVE to soak them! If I want to make a pot of beans and forgot to soak them, I just boil them a little longer and it’s always worked out fine. Similarly, you can either discard the soak water or just boil them in it. I usually just boil them in in, because I’m lazy.

So you have your soaked or unsoaked beans, in their water or in new water. Boil! If they soaked overnight they only need to boil a minute or two, if they didn’t soak, I boil them longer, maybe 5 or 6 minutes. While the beans come to a boil, I cook up the fixins’. I fry up an onion or two, a jalapeno or two (or whatever pepper you have on hand), some garlic, and a half pack or so of bacon. These quantities are variable, so cook up what you like to taste. We love onions and garlic in this house so I pack most dishes full of them. If you like spicy beans add more peppers, or less peppers or maybe a sweet variety if you like less heat. Don’t want bacon? Leave it out! Once the beans are boiled and the fixins’ are fried, I pour it all into a crock pot. Note: If you want soupier beans pour all the boil water in, but if you like your beans thicker, don’t add all of the water in. Some will evaporate so it’s a little bit of trial and error.

Then I add some cumin, some smoked paprika, a dash of cayenne (sometimes), and some salt and pepper. I don’t put much salt because  I prefer to salt my beans once they’re cooked. You could add whatever other spices you like, these are just my favorite. Set the crock pot to low, and cook! I stir mine every hour or so because the top layer gets dry. Cook for about 4-5 hours or so, until the bean skins split when you blow on them. You can leave them on warm too if you don’t want to eat them until later. They’re very forgiving. Serve over rice, or with fresh bread, with some cheese on top. Delish!  And depending on how many you make, you have dinner and lunch for several days. Dry beans are cheap, so this is a very budget friendly, hearty dinner. Enjoy!

Another of my favorite cheap and easy multi-meal recipes is for potato leek soup. Come back for that next time!

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