I 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.
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…