Weekend Cooking: Pinto Beans & Cornbread

12408149I haven’t had a book-inspired Weekend Cooking post in a while, and I couldn’t help but notice the description of this meal eaten by the characters in A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, which I’m currently listening to on audio. The setting is a small mountain town in North Carolina, and as a Southern girl myself I have eaten my share of pinto beans and corn bread. I have never, however, eaten them quite like this.

Mama sat a plate full of cold slices of ham in the center of the table, and she’d made pintos and coleslaw with corn bread. I took my fork and picked up a slice of ham and dropped it on my plate, and then I mixed my beans and my coleslaw together and crumbled my corn bread over it, just like Daddy did.

So somebody out there has to know–is this a North Carolina thing? It seems like such authentic detail that it has to have been inspired by a real tradition.
For those of you who just want to try pinto beans, here’s a recipe from the queen of Southern cooking herself, Ms. Paula Deen. Don’t forget the cornbread–crumbled up or not, it’s a must with this recipe.

Slow-Cooker Pinto Beans (from foodnetwork.com)


1 pound dry pinto beans
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 pound ham hocks
4 cups water
1 onion, chopped
House Seasoning, recipe follows


1. Wash the beans and soak overnight in cold water. Drain the beans and dump into slow cooker. Stir in chili powder and oregano.
2. Pre-soak ham in a separate pot, for at least 2, or refrigerated up to 24 hours, depending on how salty you want your stock to be. Add ham hock to slow cooker with beans and pour in ham soaking liquid. Add more water until ham hock is completely covered.
3. Add onion to slow cooker with beans and meat. Stir well. Season, to taste, with House Seasoning, cover the pot, and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 5 hours.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs…


13 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking: Pinto Beans & Cornbread

  1. Too Fond Post author

    Butter, okay, but honey? I’ve never eaten cornbread with something sweet, since it’s so sweet already. I may have to try it now, though, just for the sake of scientific experimentation. 😉

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    I love beans, any really. Now as for cornbread…ours is made from scratch and isn’t sweet at all and honey if often placed on the table in the south as an alternative to butter.

  3. Trish

    You had me at cornbread. 😉 Scott isn’t a big fan of it but he’ll eat anything that involves beans and ham so I bet I could trick him.

    I know you aren’t a big fan of some of the narrators but I can’t wait to hear what you think of the book overall. Cash is a new-to-me author and it seems his name keeps popping up everywhere lately!

  4. Diane (@bookchickdi)

    My husband and I used to own a Mexican fast food restaurant and we cooked huge batches of pinto beans in a pressure cooker to make refried beans. I haven’t had them in a long time, thanks for the recipe.

  5. Margot

    I make my cornbread with very little sugar too. I like adding a small can of chopped hot peppers and a bit of shredded cheese to my cornbread. We like ours a bit spicy. I bet that would taste good with Paula Dean’s Pinto Beans and Ham. I’ll have to give it a try.

  6. Janel

    I’m from Michigan and I have never had beans with cornbread. The variation with coleslaw from the book sounds interesting. It sounds kind of like when your baked beans and coleslaw get mixed up on a picnic plate. 🙂

  7. Ti

    I went out with a very poor actor when I was in my 20s and he ate this meal every night, for weeks on end and because of it, I cannot eat this or look at this meal too often. LOL.

    My husband’s grandparent grew up in the south and they ate their cornbread smothered in buttermilk.


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