No special herbs or spices are in this deceptively simple but ridiculously delicious Texan bean style dish. Don't be put off by the very simple down home ingredients list. It all comes together to produce one of the tastiest side or main dishes based on the humble pinto bean! And Dear Reader, this is a pushy recipe!
I first tried beans like this while in Houston and our entire group of Australian writers and PRs became besotted with them. The chef kept the recipe a secret though only going so far as to divulge a few ingredients: red pepper flakes, brisket, ketchup and brown sugar. Which lay out a challenge for me to recreate it at home and I think I did!
I was so excited to make this mainly because I wanted to eat it again. I followed the key ingredients to the letter. This recipe is quite unlike other Texan bbq pinto beans recipes - I couldn't find many that used tomato sauce but I thought I'd at least have fun trying. I wasn't quite prepared for how good it would be straight away. I really thought that I'd make several attempts at making this.
I did have to make some adjustments. For example, I should have used already cooked bbq beef brisket but that is expensive stuff here in Australia and there were no places open on the day that I made it so I used raw brisket seasoning it generously. The rest of it I kept as it was suggested. My nature is to try and fancy things up adding this and that. I try to leave enough alone but I can't help it. Minimalist is not my thing. But I had to remind myself that this sort of cooking doesn't have lots of fancy herbs and spices so I had to try and keep it true to how it would have been made.
I'll send this recipe round to all of my fellow writers on the trip that loved these beans so much too. I will also send it to our driver, a lovely woman that we called "Miss J". I think she was quite blown away by the enthusiasm of our group. One night after coming back from dinner out she saw how much fun we were having and how animated we were and she exclaimed, "Ya'll don't quit!!!". She was always looking out for us making sure we got to our destination safely and was like a mother hen. And on our last night in Texas she peered at us from a squinted eye and said, "Don't get too buuuuzzed!" while her head moved away slowly at the word buzzed.
I get the feeling that if I had added more flavours and spices (and probably ruined this simple but delicious beans) she might have chided me and told me, "Ya'll got to quit!"
So tell me Dear Reader, is it your instinct to fancy things or recipes up or do you cook them as they're written?
Kick Ass Texan Style Beans!
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 1-8 hours soaking time for the beans
Cooking time: 2 hours
- 500g/1.1lb dried pinto beans
- 5-6 cups chicken stock
- Oil for frying
- 1 large brown onion or 2 medium ones, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 500g/1.1lbs. beef brisket, chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup tomato sauce/ketchup
- 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)
Step 1 - Soak the beans in enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Soak them overnight or if you don't have time, bring the water to boil and then let them speedy soak for 1 hour. Discard the water.
Step 2 - Toss the brisket with the salt and pepper and refrigerate until needed. Fry the onion on medium high heat in enough oil until translucent and fragrant (it may take around 5-6 minutes). Add the garlic and fry for a minute adding more oil if needed.
Step 3 - Add the beans to a large pot and add the stock, sauteed onion and garlic, beef brisket, tomato sauce/ketchup and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes stirring a few times to make sure that the beans don't catch on the bottom. Then remove the lid and reduce the sauce and cook for 45 minutes or so or until the beans are tender.