I get it. Most college students don’t have time to cook, but first ask: do I have time to eat? Those may be two different things, but they’re still a part of an even larger process, which is mindful creation and consumption. This is where utilizing slow cooking is most effective. Despite the time it takes to prepare the following dish, slow cooking isn't about the time spent, but about the time spent appreciating the process of cooking and eating. Whatever it is you're making, just keep in mind where you are and what you're doing. I am by no means a saint when it comes to slow cooking, but I sometimes, possibly, almost, might make an active effort to do so. I’ve written the following article to help you make a similar effort.
(Click here for more information about the Slow Food movement.)
Beans are a great source of protein and because of that they’re essential to my diet—which is primarily plant based. Beans—specifically dry beans—are also great for the broke and starving college student due to their inexpensive price tag (try lentils and rice over ramen). I understand that the term “dry beans” might intimidate some people because it implies lots of time cooking, but don’t over think it. This recipe is extremely easy. Most of your time will be spent doing other things (like watching the Lord of the Rings marathon or playing monopoly) while your beans are cooking.
Badass, Southern-Style, Home-Cooked Pinto Beans
- Prep Time:12 hrs
- Cook Time:5 hrs
- Total Time:17 hrs
- 2 cups dry pinto beans
- A few finger-length stems rosemary
- Cayenne Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Colgin's "Liquid Smoke"
Rinse pinto beans (become one with the beans as you feel them move through your fingers) and soak them in water (8 cups) for 12 hours (the cooking instructions on the package usually say soak for about 6-8 hours, but I like to be thorough).
Tip: If you sort the beans while they're submerged in water it'll cause a lot of the bad ones to float to the top.
Continue with your day as usual.
Rinse and drain beans (beans are social creatures, they need each other. Every bean must remain with the herd. No bean left behind) then bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add your beans to the boiling water, then simmer for an hour until the water turns brown and murky
Take the rosemary (carefully massage each and every leaf. Give thanks to them for flavoring your wonderful dish) and soak it in a bowl of cold water with salt for about 5 minutes. The salt will kill the bacteria and insects.
After 5 minutes rinse and drain the rosemary then add it to the pot (stir in the rosemary smooth and gently like a breezy morning at the pet cemetery in July). Then add (to taste) the garlic powder, salt, pepper and liquid smoke. For meat lovers, you can add a block of pig fat to the pot to give your beans a creamier consistency and a meatier flavor. Let this cook on low for an addition 3-4 hours.
*The best things in life come with patience.
Take a walk, watch a movie, try something new, etc.
Taste the beans (with your mind, body and spirit) and make sure they're tender and juicy then let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Serve and Enjoy (and share with others)!
If you're eating alone, this batch should last about a week. Pinto beans go great as a side with rice, cornbread, green beans and a meat of your choice (or whatever veggie option you want). Most times I eat them as a meal to themselves. For me, pinto beans have always been a staple in southern cuisine. I couldn’t imagine a Sunday dinner without them. Don’t discredit your culture, do it right even if it takes all night. And most of all: do it mindfully!