My mom, when I was growing up, was a good cook. She could whip up some fantastic meals. Watching my mom and to some extent my grandmother cook is one of the reasons I am, today, so interested in cooking. Every once in a while my mom would venture off the normal meat and potatoes, somewhat healthy meal and would fix, what I now refer to as the greatest processed food meal, fried Spam, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and canned pork n’ beans.
Oh how great this meal tasted. It hit the spot for so many wonderful reasons. As I sit here writing this I can taste the saltiness of the SPAM and the flavor explosion of mixing the sweetness of the beans with the mac & cheese. What a food memory this is.
Another meal she used to fix was pinto beans and cornbread. I know this meal had its roots from the days of my poor ancestors migrating from the dust bowl of Texas to California. Beans were cheap and plentiful. But most important beans and cornbread were filling. She used to make a big batch of pinto beans that had simmered for hours on the stove with a huge hunk of salt pork in them for flavoring. And the cornbread cooked in a cast iron skillet, the same one in the picture above, was so good.
We’d put big slices of cornbread in a bowl and ladle steaming pinto beans over the top. Big pieces of chopped onion went on top of the beans. We’d gobble that stuff up in no time. And that last bit of cornbread in the bottom of the bowl soggy with the pot likker was amazing.
With all those memories floating around in my head I started looking for ingredients to make something that would respect those meals my mom used to make. I had two pounds of dried pinto beans in the pantry and a whole smoked pork butt in the freezer. That made choosing to make Pork n’ Beans easy. All I had to do with figure out what seasonings I wanted to use.
I had recently received a couple of bottles of sun-dried tomato ketchup from Traina Foods and I knew I wanted to merge this flavor into the beans. I’m not a huge fan of sun-dried tomatoes, they are just one of those tastes that my palate doesn’t appreciate. But the California Sun-Dried Tomato Ketchup from Traina Foods has an amazing flavor that complimented the pork so well. When you add the traditional ketchup seasonings with pumped up tomato flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes you get a great flavor. I can’t wait to make a BBQ sauce with this stuff.
- 2 pounds dried pinto beans
- 4 bay leaves
- ½ cup chopped oregano
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed
- ¾ cup Traina Foods California Sun-Dried Tomato Ketchup
- 4 pounds smoked pork shoulder, cubed
- ½ cup Chosen-Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil*
- 1 can green chiles
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 2 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- Rinse and clean the pinto beans. Make sure you remove any rocks, dirt and broken beans.
- Add beans to a large stock pot or bowl and cover with water. Add ¼ cup Traina Sun-dried Tomato Ketchup and stir to mix. Soak the beans over night.
- Drain and rinse beans in a colander after the soak.
- In a large stockpot heat the oil and sauté the onions, peppers and chiles until tender.
- Add beans, vegetable stock, rest of ketchup, oregano, bay leaves and 1 cup of the chopped pork shoulder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook until almost tender about 90 minutes.
- Add rest of the pork and cook until beans are tender.
- Serve with cornbread.