beans and cornbread

November 1, 2010

Beans and cornbread. I think we’ve covered all our Texas bases at this point, haven’t we?  I made these for the Texas/OU game the first weekend in October. Pretty dang good football food, right? Gosh, I’m such a nice wife.

If you’ve missed any other Texas-inspired recipes since I’ve been gone, you can find them here:

> tomatillo salsa

> enchiladas verdes

> chile con queso

> migas

> spiced mexican wedding cookies

So, here’s the thing about beans. They’re kind of tough! You’d think they’d be easy as pie but it’s a really delicate balance between getting the beans to the right texture as well as getting the juices just right. You want the juice to be nice and soupy with a thick consistency, and you also want the beans to be done just the right amount; certainly not underdone, but also not done to the point of being mushy.

I struggled to hit that optimum point. My beans were a great texture, but the liquid was not quite as thick as I’d have liked. Also, play with the seasoning – that can also be tough to get bang on. You don’t want them too salty, as the cornbread has salt in it too (and no sugar). I ended up adding some brown sugar to my beans to sweeten them up a tad.

The trick is to play with it, but no worries, there’s plenty of football season left to perfect it.

Beans and Cornbread

adapted from The Pioneer Woman



  • 4 cups pinto beans
  • 4 slices thick bacon, cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar



  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp shortening
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda


To make the beans:

  1. Rinse beans in cool water; pour into a pot, cover with water by 2 to 3 inches. Add the sliced bacon to the pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Add water to pot as needed. Beans should have a thick broth.
  3. Toward end of cooking time, add salt and pepper and season to taste. Don’t over-salt. Add chili powder. Serve in a bowl with cornbread.
  4. Serve with a dollop of sour cream , fresh cilantro, and a big hunk of cornbread…

To make the cornbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a 9×9 Pyrex dish (or iron skillet) in the oven to get nice and hot.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp shortening in your Pyrex dish.
  3. Melt the other 1/4 cup shortening in a pan. Set aside.
  4. Combine corn meal, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, and egg. Add baking powder and baking soda. Stir. Add ¼ cup melted shortening, stirring constantly.
  6. Pour into hot Pyrex dish, smoothing surface with spatula. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
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