2 quarts water for soaking beans
1 lb. high quality pinto beans (Camellia recommended)
2 cups medium-dice ham
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 small fresh tomato, diced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. thyme
2 bay leaves
1 medium smoked ham hock
4 cups canned chicken stock + 4 cups water
1/4 cup flatleaf parsley, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 bunch thinly sliced green onions for garnish
6 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 platter country paneed boneless pork chops
First, place the full pound of beans into a large stainless steel stockpot and completely cover them with the two quarts of water.
Then bring the water to a rapid boil and actively boil the beans for 10 minutes over a high flame.
When the boiling period is done, remove the pot from the fire, put the cover on tightly, and let the beans soak in the hot water for exactly 2 hours. This allows the beans to hydrate and absorb water, reduce their gaseous content, and soften their outer hulls.
When the soaking period is over, take a heavy stockpot that you'll actually cook the beans in and drop in the diced ham and the olive oil.
Over a medium heat, stirring constantly to keep the ham from sticking to the bottom of the pot, lighty brown the dice.
Then immediately stir in the onions, celery, and fresh tomato, and cook everything together until the vegetable mixture wilts and softens.
When all the ingredients have totally combined, whisk in the garlic powder, thyme, and bay leaves, along with the smoked ham hock.
At his point, pour in the 4 cups of canned chicken stock, plus the 4 cups of water, and bring the contents of the stock pot to a rapid boil.
Meanwhile, using a colander, drain the pinto beans, discard the water you soaked them in, and add the beans to the pot.
Once again, bring the stock back to a rapid boil-but immediately reduce the heat to low, stir everything together one more time, cover the pot, and cook the bean mixture for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Note: if some of the stock evaporates during cooking and the bean liquid thickens too much, simply add water or a little more chicken broth (canned chicken broth will do nicely).
Finally, about 15 minutes before you're ready to serve the dish, stir in the minced parsley and adjust the final seasoning with salt and black pepper to your taste.
Then, when you're ready to eat, spoon out a big helping of hot rice into a bowl and generously ladle the beans over the top. All that's left is to garnish the plate with a sprinkling of thinly sliced green onions and serve with a couple of the paneed pork chops.
1. As is the case with red beans, white beans, limas, and black eye peas, pinto beans taste 100% better the next day; so don't be reluctant to cook them a day in advance.
2. The rapid boiling/hot soaking technique has been advanced lately as a method for reducing intestinal gas produced by most legumes. Several tests in my kitchens thusfar have indicated positive results.
3. To make your paneed pork chops, you need 8 centercut boneless chops, 2 tsp. Frank Davis Pork Seasoning, 3 eggs, well beaten, 1 cup low-fat milk, 4 cups seasoned breadcrumb, 48 oz. bottle corn oil, and salt and black pepper mixed to taste. Then take a 12-inch non-stick or anodized frypan, pour in about a third of the corn oil and bring it up to medium high heat (which is equivalent to about 375 degrees).
Then while the oil is heating, lay out the chops on a sheet of freezer paper on top of the counter and lightly sprinkle them with the pork seasoning and the salt and black pepper mixture. When each one is uniformly and evenly coated, vigorously rub the seasonings into the meat with your hands. Then stack the chops one on top of the other and set them aside momentarily.
In the meantime, in a 9 x 11-inch shallow sided pan, combine the eggs and the milk to make a 'wash.' Then, using the same sheet of freezer paper you used to season the chops pour out the bread crumbs and fashion them into a small mound. Immediately take the chops directly from the egg wash and lay them on top of the crumbs. Ideally, you want to bury the pork in the breading, then pat the breading down hard to force the mixture to adhere to the meat. When each chop is thoroughly coated, shake off the excess breadcrumbs and set them aside for at least 15 minutes to cure.
When you're ready to eat, gently place about four chops at a time into the frypan and cook them on both sides until they turn a golden brown.
Note: you want to avoid jostling the pork back and forth in the pan-it could cause the breading to break and eventually fall off in the hot oil. And try to make every effort to turn the chops only once, which alone will keep the inside of the chops moist and tender. When they're done, remove them from the frypan, drain them appropriately on several layers of paper towels, and hold them in a warming oven until you're ready to serve up the pintos.
4. Oh, did I mention that a big ol' pan of crusty homemade cornbread is the only other thing you'll need to top off this menu???