Beans in the Crockpot

With the New Year here, many people make resolutions or goals of eating better, cooking at home more, eating less processed food, etc.  One of my favorite tools to accomplish all of these things is the crockpot.  Oh how i love my crockpot.  In fact, I have two large ones that we use several times a week.

A few years ago, I wanted to make refried beans for dinner and realized I was out of the canned variety that we used to keep in our pantry.  I had dried pinto beans on hand, so I decided to look for a recipe to quick cook the beans on the stove.  I have not had the best luck cooking beans on the stove, but didn’t think there was another way.  My results with beans on the stove had been inconsistent.  Sometimes the beans were too hard even after soaking overnight and cooking for hours.  Others times they were over cooked.

While Google searching for the ingredients I would need to cook the beans on the stove, I ran across a recipe for cooking refried beans in the crockpot.  I was intrigued and figured it wouldn’t be any worse than how my beans usually turned out on the stove.  I was pleasantly surprised when the beans were the perfect texture after cooking in the crockpot.  And the best part…no soaking overnight required (there are definitely some benefits to soaking beans, but we have had great results without soaking as well)!  I have tweaked the original recipe over the past few years and the result is a family favorite.  Here is our recipe for Crockpot Refried Beans:

beans

Crockpot Refried Beans

Cook time :5-6 hours

Ingredients

2 cups dried pinto beans, washed

1 large yellow or white onion, coarsely chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (We like garlic so I opt for 3 cloves)

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1.5 tsp salt

5 cups of water

Add all ingredients to crockpot, set on high and cook approximately 5-6 hours, stirring half way through cooking time.  Beans may be finished in as little as 4 hours as the high temp on crockpots can widely vary.  Scoop finished beans into food processor and blend to desired consistency.  Use as a side dish, in burritos, on nachos, as a dip, or any other way you can think of.  A great variation is to add chipotle pepper for a richer flavor.

The crockpot method is also great for black beans and garbanzo beans. We will be enjoying these today as we hopefully cheer the Steelers on to victory!

-L

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