Pinto Beans are extremely popular white colored beans among Mexicans and also residents of South-West USA. They are the most versatile beans and sparingly used in a variety of dishes like burritos, tortillas, burgers, dips and soups.
However, pinto beans are slightly bland to taste and may not be appealing to the taste buds if cooked without seasonings and spices. But like any other beans they are a treasure of good nutrition.
Cooking pinto beans is pretty easy. You can go for store bought dry beans as well as the beans in can. They are certainly ore healthy if you prepare fresh dry beans by boiling and cooking them at home. Canned beans do have preservatives and may not taste fresh. Here are a few tips to cook pinto beans and season them to enhance their taste:
- First step is to pick and sort the dry pinto beans bought from a store. Make sure the beans are uniform in shape and size. Pick out any small stones or rocks that might spoil the taste when cooked. Also, throw out the beans with blemishes or dried and wrinkled skin.
- Spread them on a flat plate for ease and convenience while picking and sorting. Wash the beans under running water and soak them for 4-5 hours. Presoaked beans reduce the cooking time and are usually moist and tender. Its better if they are soaked overnight.
- Now take double amount of water in a pan and put the beans to boil. You can also add a spoon of salt to speed up the boiling process. Cover the pan with a lid and put the heat to medium. Let the beans simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check if they are soft and tender. If the beans are still hard let them stay covered for a few more minutes. Once done, strain the beans in a colander and keep the water aside. Boiled pinto beans are ready which can be used further for any recipe.
- To cook the beans further put a sauce pan on heat. Add some cooking oil and sauté chopped onions and garlic in it. Once they turn soft add chopped tomatoes to the pan. Sauté for a while before adding beans and other seasonings.
- To enhance taste further you can also add some oregano, chili flakes, parsley or any other herb. To add the gravy mix in the water you kept aside after boiling the beans. Let the beans simmer with the spices for a while till the consistency becomes as per your desire. Switch off the flame and serve hot with any bread or rice.
- Cooked or boiled pinto beans can be stored inside refrigerator for further use. You can thaw or defrost the whenever you wish to use them for a recipe. They can be used in a wide variety of dishes, casseroles, hamburgers, bean burritos, or any Mexican style of food.
- Pinto beans can be baked as they make a wonderful meal with toasted garlic bread. To improve their taste and nutritional value you can also add some grated parmesan or cheddar cheese to the final product.