I attended a local National Day of Prayer event not long after that. As I was walking away, this fellow walked up and asked me if I was Steve Gordon. Yes, I replied. He then introduced himself as Bobby Wood, we talked a bit while there, and I guess weve been friends ever since. In the days ahead Bobby would stop by the station a time or two and even brought me a cake one day that he purchased from one of his co workers. By now, it was just a few days before Thanksgiving and Bobby found out that Id be working on Thanksgiving Day with no plans to eat with family. Being Bobby, he offered to bring me something from his own families get together. Hed bring it to the station, he said. I argued with him a bit about not wanting to interrupt his day, but he wouldnt hear of it. I finally accepted his offer. Around lunch time on Thanksgiving Day, Bobby came in with 3 big plates of home cooked food. He had two plates of turkey, dressing, bread, and vegetables, along with another plate filled with homemade desserts. How could you not like someone like that I dont think Bobby and his family had even had their own meal at that time and little did I realize, but Bobby lived about 1. Hes just that kind of guy. I thanked him for thinking of me that day and it wasnt long before I was enjoying a delicious home cooked meal. Thanksgiving is a rough time of year for me. My wife of 1. Thanksgiving in 1. I still had a rough time getting together with family on holidays. Perhaps you can understand. I ate like a King that day. It was all absolutely delicious and home cooking like I hadnt had in quite some time. Bobby told me that his wife Eva and his mom, Ms Sally, had made it all themselves. I wondered why he wasnt as big as I was, but I guess he works his off moving all those used appliances and furniture items around. As life would have it, about two years later I moved from the station I was at over to the station that was doing the Swap Shop program. By this time, I had met Bobbys wife when they were both at an auction I attended, but I hadnt met his mom. Ms. Sally started having this gigantic Yard Sale about every day at her house and called into the program to promote it. Id talked with her a couple of times on the program, and on this particular day, she invited me to come up and visit her Yard Sale. I asked her if she had any kitchen items for sale, and she said she did, so I told her that once the program ended, Id head up her way. It was such a delight to finally meet Ms. Sally. Shes such a likeable person and has never met a stranger. She just made me feel right at home. I ended up purchasing a couple of kitchen gadgets, some cookbooks, and a bowl or two. Then, we started talking about cooking. I loved it. When I asked her what she cooked that everyone liked the most, she didnt hesitate. Pinto Beans, she declared. I told her about my plans for this website and asked if shed share some recipes. She said she would, and I asked her about her Pinto Beans. She began telling me all about them. Now, I havent actually tried any of her own pinto beans myself. Shes promised me that the next time she cooks up a big old pot that shell give me a call. I cant wait. In the meantime, here is the recipe that she gave me on how to cook her Pinto Beans. I tried to cook them just the way she described it all to me that day. I hope you might give them a try as well. Ready Lets Get CookingThese are your ingredients. Pretty simple. Beans and Cornbread The Pioneer Woman. Do you ever allow yourself to experience the wonderful simplicity of a big ol pot of beans Honestly, there are few things more fundamental than placing dried beans into a pot of water, cooking them, and serving them to hungry souls. If life ever get to be too hecticif the 2. I just throw a pot of beans on the stove and all my cares and concerns instantly melt away. How To Keep Pies Warm there. Theyre magical that way. You can do so much with a pot of cooked pinto beans make refried beans for burritos so much better than the canned stuff, add them to a pot of homemade chili, or adorn your delicious Brisket Chalupas recipe coming soon. Really, though, its hard to improve on the basic dish itself a bowl of beans, seasoned either delicately or boldlywhatever your mood dictates. And cornbread. You know, when I was in seventh grade, my mom took me to New York City. Late one night after seeing 4. Street on Broadway, we dined at Sardis. When my spaghetti arrived at the table and I declined our waiters offer to sprinkle Parmesan on my dish, the older Italian gentleman gasped and emoted, Butbuta spaghetti without a cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze I giggled nervously and asked my mom to get me out of there immediately. But I have to say, I feel the exact same way about beans and cornbread as the old man felt about his spaghetti and Parmesan they just go together. A bean without a cornbread is like a kiss without a squeeze Doesnt quite have the same ring to it. No matter. Lets start with the beans, shall we The Cast of Characters Dried Pinto Beans, Thick Sliced Bacon, salt, pepper. Whoa, Nellywere talking simple here, folks. Measure four cups of beans and rinse them under cool water. If you see any little strange looking bits in there, pick them out and discard. I use a dutch oven most of the time, unless I need to make a huge quantity. Throw the beans into the pot. Theres something so pure and elemental about a pot of dried beans, dont you think Now put some water in the potCover the beans by a good two inches. I added more after I snapped this photo. Now take four slices of thick sliced bacon or one slice per cup of dry beans. Slice them into 1 inch pieces. And throw em in the pot. The bacon adds a nice flavor and a slight saltiness to the beans, but you could certainly leave it out if you want your beans to be more lowfat, though I cant imagine why anyone would want to do that. Now bring pot to a boilThen cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Well add seasoning later on. The beans have been simmering now for about two hours. See how thick and yummy the juice looks Or is it gravy Or sauce I havent decided. Now its time for seasoning. Start with 1 teaspoon salt. You can always add more later. Now add 2 teaspoons black pepper. I normally prefer the fresh ground stuff for cooking, but for a pot of beans, this good ol powdery stuff is best. Dont tell the food snobs. I used to be one myself, you know, so if they rain down their wrath on me, I deserve it. Stir together well and check the seasoning. You might want to add a little more salt, but be aware the cornbread with which youll serve the beans contains salt. So dont overdo it. Now. Most of the time, I stop there. I really think the less you mess with beans, the better. But there are lots of other seasonings you can add if you want a little more punch Tabasco, garlic, even a little vinegar or chopped jalapenos. Ive found this special Pinto Bean Seasoning. Bascially, its salt, pepper, chili powder, and some other mystery spices. Sometimes I add a few shakes. Sometimes I dont. The beans are pretty much done, so you can just cover and turn the heat off for awhile while you make the cornbread. I try never to eat beans without it. And cornbread, Ive found, is such a personal thing. People are very rabid and passionate about the kind of cornbread they prefer, and it almost always relates back to the variety the ate during childhood. My mom always made this version, usually called Texas Cornbread in the recipe books, and to this day its the only kind of cornbread I like. While some cornbread recipes are more cake like and thick, this cornbread is grainy in texture, flatter, and very crispy and brown on the outside. The melted shortening in the batter helps, but what really sets it apart is pouring the cornbread batter into a sizzling hot pan before baking. And unlike many cornbread recipes, there is no sweetness to this one at all. Sweet cornbread aint my thing. Come make it with me, will ya The Cast of Characters Yellow Corn Meal, Flour, Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Milk, Buttermilk, Egg, and Shortening. Get ready for greatness, folks. Now, you can use muffin pans, corn stick pans, pyrex dishesreally, anything you want. My favorite way to make cornbread, though, is to use my favorite iron skillet. Whatever pan you use, start heating it up over medium heat or in a hot oven to get it pretty hot. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons shortening to the skilletor baking panor muffin tinswhichever you decide to use. The point is to melt the shortening in the hot pan before you pour in the cornbread batter. This is the secret to the crispy, brown outside. Take yellow cornmeal. Measure 1 cupAnd dump it into a bowl. Now for the All Purpose Flour. Add 12 cup. Now for the salt. See I told you itd be in here. Add 1 teaspoon. Stir it all together. Now measure 1 cup buttermilk. And remember the trick If you dont have buttermilk, just add a tablespoon of vinegar to 12 milk and youre good to go. Add 12 cup regular milk to the buttermilk. Now take one eggAnd crack it into the milk mixture. Stir together until combined. Now for the baking powderAdd 1 tablespoon. Stir together, then find your baking soda. Add 12 teaspoon. Look how frothy it is already Ive always loved those spice cabinet mad scientist experiments. My mom always loved them, too, because I always cleaned up after myself, right, Mom And I never, ever touched your little squirt bottles of food coloring. Right, Mom Mom Stir together, then pour into the cornmealflour mixture. Stir togetherUntil just combined. Now add 14 cup shortening to a microwave safe dishAnd heat until melted. Pour melted shortening into the bowlStirring constantly. Keep stirring until combined. Now pour batter into your hot skillet. It will sizzle around the edges, which should make your heart go pitter pat. Sizzle is good. Even out the batter on top, then bake in a 4. Did someone say Golden BrownNeato It kinda looks like an aerial shot of the Grand Canyon. Taste your beans again, check for seasoning, and when youre ready, spoon the lusciousness into a bowl. Cut a nice square of the warm cornbreadAnd place it on the rim of the bowl. You could also make a bed of cornbread and spoon your beans right over it, if youre feeling like a cowboy today. I think the beans and cornbread are perfect on their own, but if you want to pep things up a bit, its fun to have little bowls of accoutrements such as chopped onions, grated Monterey Jack, diced fresh jalapenos, even Pico de GalloCall me crazy and bizarro, but sometimes I like to plop a nice spoonful of sour cream not non fat, puhleeeeeeze on top. And because Im a girl and not Marlboro Man, who would already be through one bowl of the beans by now, I like to throw a little cilantro in there, too. It really adds a nice freshness to the beans. Oh, baby. How good does this look Lawsie mercy. Who invented beans in the first place, anywayGod Are you there I love beans. Thank you for sending them to earth to live among us sinners. Beans and Cornbread. July 3, 2. 00. 9 Prep Time 3. Minutes. Difficulty Easy. Cook Time 2 Hours. Servings 8 Servings FOR THE BEANS 4 cups Dry Pinto Beans. Thick Bacon can Also Use Salt Pork, Or Ham Hock, Or Diced Ham1 teaspoon Salt. Ground Black Pepper FOR THE CORNBREAD 14 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Shortening. Yellow Corn Meal. All purpose Flour. Salt. 1 cup Buttermilk. Milk. 1 whole Egg. Tablespoon Baking Powder.