There's nothing more country than takin' a pound of dem dried pinto beans, slow-simmerin' dem over a low fire with a little right from the smokehouse bacon and a fistful of herbs and spices until they get semi-soupy and then serving dem over a plate of fried shredded potatoes with a platter full of lightly-breaded breakfast-style pork chops on the side. Of course, to make it a complete country meal you just gotta have a pot of mustard greens and a baking pan full of homemade buttered biscuits on the side. You got my word that even city-slickers will get a hankerin' for this All American supper!
2 quarts water + a pinch of baking soda for soaking beans
1 pound quality pinto beans (Camellia brand recommended)
2 cups smokehouse bacon, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 small fresh tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
2 whole bay leaves
6 cups canned chicken stock + 4 cups water as needed
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
6 cups skillet-fried shredded potatoes
1 bunch thinly sliced green onions for garnish
1 platter country breaded breakfast-style 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 bacon and the olive oil.
Then over a medium heat, constantly stir to keep the bacon from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot.
When the bacon is lightly sauteed, immediately drop in the onions, celery, and fresh tomato and cook everything together until the vegetable mixture wilts and softens.
Once all the ingredients have totally combined, whisk in the garlic powder, thyme, and bay leaves.
At his point, pour in the 6 cups of canned chicken stock, plus 2 of 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 them 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 or so, stirring occasionally.
Note: If some of the stock evaporates during cooking and the bean liquid thickens, simply add water or a little more chicken broth to keep it on the 'semi-soupy' side.
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 skillet fried potatoes onto a dinner plate 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 country-breaded pork chops, a heapin' spoonful of spicy turnip greens, and a couple of right-from-the-over buttermilk biscuits.
As is the case with red beans, white beans, limas, and black eye peas, pinto beans too taste 100% better the next day; so don't be reluctant to cook them a day in advance.
The rapid boiling/hot soaking technique has been advanced lately as a method for reducing the 'gas' produced by most legumes. Several tests in my kitchens thus far have indicated positive results.
To make your paneed pork chops, you need:
8 to 10 ultra-thin breakfast chops
2 tsp. Frank Davis Pork Seasoning
2 cups all purpose flour
3 well beaten eggs plus 1 cup buttermilk
4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
48 oz. bottle corn oil
Salt and black pepper mixed to taste.
Then take a 12-inch non-stick or anodized fry pan, pour in about half 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, place the flour in a shallow sided pan.
Then combine the eggs and the milk to make a 'wash' and put it in a second shallow sided pan. Finally, add the breadcrumbs to a third pan.
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 and (1) dredge them in the flour, (2) dip them in the egg wash, and (3) coat them with the crumbs.
Ideally, you want to bury the chop in the breading, then pat the crumbs 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 fry pan 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 fry pan, drain them on wire rack, and then transfer them to a warming oven until you're ready to serve up the pintos.
You're ready to chow down when you heat up a pot of turnip greens (I recommend you try the new Margaret Holmes Southern Seasoned Turnip Greens in a can - almost as good as the homemade kind your MawMaw makes!) and finish buttering the flaky, crusty biscuits hot from the oven.
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