2 C. dried red, pink, or pinto beans, rinsed well and picked over
6 C. water
1/4 lb. salt pork, diced fine
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T. bacon fat, if needed
1 t. finely ground black pepper
1 t. salt
3/4 t. crumbled dried oregano
1/2 t. crumbled dried sage
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 T. chili powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 T. cornmeal
1 C. peeled and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
Wash beans and soak in water overnight. Do not drain. In large frying pan, cook salt pork. After 5 minutes, add onions and garlic and cook until onions are golden. If pork does not render enough fat to continue cooking with add 2 tablespoons bacon fat. Add black pepper, salt, oregano, sage, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cornmeal, tomatoes and 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes.
Combine beans, most of their remaining liquid and mixture from frying pan in 3 quart bean pot. Reserve 1 to two cups of bean liquid to add later if needed. Stir to blend and bake, covered, in 300°F. oven 4 hours, checking frequently to see if the liquid needs replenishing. Taste and correct seasonings.
Makes 8 side-dish servings.
Picnic Basket From Kim of Kim's Whim