Winter and Soup Beans

 It's not Winter yet but it certainly has felt like it around here.  When it looks like this outside....

And when you have a giant tree to work on the entire day.....

What could be better than a big bowl of West Virginia soup beans and corn bread.  I've posted these before and they are worth posting again.  When you find a recipe that has been passed down for generations and eaten regularly by everyone in an entire state, it must be good. You can start these in the morning in a slow cooker and let them cook on their own the entire day.

 And they have to be served with a good cornbread. This is the best I've ever eaten:

1 cup of cream style corn
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup of jalapenos diced very fine
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup grated cheddar jack cheese
1 cup green onions, chopped
6 slices cooked bacon , diced 
Whisk all of the liquid ingredients together and then stir in the dry ones.  Mix in cheese, onions and peppers.
While you are making the batter, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Place a cast iron pan in it while it is heating and add several tablespoons of butter.  Once the oven reaches 425, remove the pan and pour the batter into the sizzling butter.  Bake for 45 minute to 1 hour until set in the middle.
Let it rest about 15 minutes before cutting.

West Virginians of every social class enjoy a bowl of beans and cornbread from time to time, as the humble, high-fiber, high-protein dish moves up the food chain. The beans are pinto beans, called brown beans in some parts of the state. The bread is made the way cornbread is made throughout the Upper South, baked in cast iron with little or no sugar. The beans and bread are served hot from the kitchen, often with chopped or sliced onions on the side.
The simple meal requires hours of preparation. The dried beans are typically soaked overnight, then seasoned with salt and fatback pork and cooked through much of the next day. Pinto beans are not commonly grown in West Virginia and were not among our pioneer foods, but became available with the spread of stores as a cheap bulk or bagged commodity. Many mountaineers recall among their earliest memories the sight of a mother or grandmother picking over a pan of uncooked beans to remove the debris found in dried beans from the store. The beans were then rinsed in preparation for soaking.
Like biscuits and gravy, beans and cornbread are a folk food that have made the transition from family table to restaurant. Beans and cornbread, often very good, may now be found in restaurants across the state.

Here is my recipe:

1 bag of pinto beans (soaked overnight and drained)
1 onion, diced
4 diced garlic cloves
chicken stock to cover beans by 2 inches (about 6 cups)
ham bone with meat
2 smoked pork chops
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
several sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Place this all in a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours and then turn it down to low and cook for 5-6 hours until the beans are tender. Remove the meat and discard the bones.  Shred the meat and add it back to the beans.  Remove 1 cup of beans and mash them and add them back if you want a creamier dish.  Ladle some beans into a bowl and serve with diced onion on top and a wedge of cornbread.


I like anything with beans but my stomach says no, no, no :-) :-) :-) Still I can't stay away from them totally :-)

Have a great day!

Anonymous said…
That is two recipes I will try for sure, soup and corn bread sounds good for today , the smoked porkchops , very interesting flovour boost!
Oh Lordy! You had me at jalapenos and bacon. Something I noticed, That snow picture would be so gorgeous if you cropped the bottom off and whitened the right bottom part of it.
Rain said…
That meal looks perfect for a winter day of tree trimming!
Susan said…
I've made your cornbread before and you are right - it's the best I've ever eaten! I will have to try your soup beans, too. I love anything that is handed down through the generations!
Guillaume said…
I love a good winter soup... And lovely pics, as usual.
That sounds like a very hardy soup and perfect for a winter’s day.
your tree is lovely. and would you look at that snow. looks like you found the perfect meal to compliment the weather outside.