Friday, December 5, 2014

Ranchero Beans

Ranchero Beans are a staple side dish at Diana “The Dragon’s” table. Diana is my step-mom. My beautiful, kindhearted, compassionate, wise, step-mom. I’m not sure exactly when close family members started calling her “The Dragon,” but it has always suited her. She is stronger than most, and I’m pretty sure if you crossed her or one of her family members (biological or step) she might very well singe you with her fire breathing words. She is an incredible leader, teacher, woman and mother. She is also an outstanding cook! Her house on any given weekend is full of people, whether family or friends, and there are always so many mouths to feed. She cooks “big.” Lots of food for lots of people. When the weather starts to turn cold, the smell of Diana’s Ranchero Beans in the slow cooker warms me to my bones. Hearty, spicy, creamy beans. So when I received word about the Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker Challenge, the first recipe I thought of was Diana’s Ranchero Beans. The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker made cooking these beans so effortless.

Ranchero Beans
by Maryjo
Adapted from the recipe of Diana “The Dragon” Allison, my beautiful step-mom!

2 pounds dry pinto beans
1/4 pound salt pork or bacon
1 large yellow onion, large dice
4 - 6 cups water
3 - 4 tomatoes, diced (or 1 can Rotel tomatoes)
3 - 5 Serrano peppers, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste

Wash the beans to get rid of any dirt and stones. Place the beans into the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker with the salt pork or bacon, add the onions, and cover the beans with about 4 to 6 cups of water. Set your slow cooker for 8 hours on low temperature and let it cook. After three hours, add the tomatoes, peppers and cilantro, and stir. Make sure there is about 1 inch of water covering the beans at all times. If the water gets too low, add more, stir, and replace the lid. When fully cooked, salt to taste and serve.

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