"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived."
-Jean Luc Picard

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Beans and Cornbread, Y'all!!

I grew up eating pinto beans and cornbread. It's a cheap way to feed a whole crowd of people and it's just plain good! My Grandmother on my Father's side of the family was not very interested in cooking and because of this, she was not the best cook. One of the few meals she excelled at was beans and cornbread. Now, she always used salt pork in her beans, but today we will be using some smoked sausage.

First up, we will measure out three cups of dried pinto beans and put them in a colander. Give them a good wash and discard any cracked, broken, or shriveled looking beans and debris.

Next, put your beans, chopped garlic, chopped up smoked sausage, salt, and pepper into your crockpot or slow cooker. If you look closely, you'll see that my sausage is still frozen. When I buy smoked sausage, I divide most of it up into 1/2 lb portions, chop it up, and freeze it for later use. Next, pour in your water so that it is about 1 1/2 to two inches above the surface of the beans. Cover them and set on low and cook all day (8-10 hours or so) until soft. When they are ready, it's time to make some cornbread.

This was originally from a bag of Aunt Jemima Yellow Cornmeal but, it seems that the folks at Aunt Jemima no longer make the plain cornmeal, just the cornbread mix. *grumbles*
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, oil or drippings
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbs. sugar, (optional)
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt, (optional)
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place vegetable shortening in 10 inch ovenproof skillet, or 8 inch square baking pan. Heat in oven 3 minutes, tilting skillet to coat bottom evenly. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients. Stir milk and egg until blended. Stir in melted shortening and mix thoroughly.

Pour batter into hot skillet.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Homemade cornbread never lasts long with Mr. Hairball around. *grins*


Dr. Julie-Ann said...

You don't soak the beans first?? Don't you have "side effects" because of this?

Also, Quaker makes corn meal and I've had luck finding big bags of store brand corn meal (but I also live in the heart of Los Angeles where the women in my neighborhood are making tortillas from scratch, still).

I'm going to try your cornbread recipe. Mr. Dr.-J. says my cornbread tastes too much like cake (from the sugar, I'm guessing).

Hairball said...

I used to always soak them but, then I tried cooking them without soaking and *for me* I don't really notice a difference. YMMV of course. Feel free to go ahead and soak them overnight and change out the water if you know that works better for you. Certain antibiotics make me sleepy so I know that some things work great for one person, and don't work at all for another! :)

Oh, I can find bags of cornmeal in my neck of the woods too. I was just trying to give the folks at Aunt Jemima credit since the original recipe was from their cornmeal. I guess I've had this recipe for longer than I thought! Sorry for the confusion.

Dr. Julie-Ann said...

I used to just cook my beans without soaking them first and then someone who knew how to cook recoiled in horror at the thought so I got all weirded out about it and thought that there was some great mystery that I didn't know about.

Re: corn meal. Ah, I get it now. I misunderstood what you meant.

Hairball said...

You could always divide your beans in half and soak group A and don't soak group B and then cook them both and see what happens. You could do a blog post about your results!

Donna-FFW said...

Cornbread looks delicious!! Ive never made it in my cast iron, I should try so i can call it more authentic;)

Chaka said...

I didn't think that looked so great when you started with the first picture, but the end result looks great and now I am starving. Thanks a lot.

Hairball said...

Sorry about that Chaka! Can I email you some pie or something to make it up to you?