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Blanket Lifters
Recipe for Pinto Beans


  • 2 # Pinto beans
  • 2-3 large onions (grapefruit-size or better)
  • 2-3 smoked hocks (or a large ham or picnic bone)
  • 2-3 tbsp salt (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cayene
  • 2 tbsp cumin (comino)
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic flakes (or so, to taste, as a breath sweetener)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3-4 red chili pods if you got, washed, seeded and blended in water.
  • 2-3 tbsp molasses (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
WARNING! Do not serve this recipe with boiled cabbage. Failure to heed this advice can result in lowered esteem and loss of companionship.


Wash and sort beans, getting rid of any rocks, discolored, odd-ball or bug-bit beans. Put in a heavy pot with enough water to cover them after they swell up. Bring to a good boil for 5 or 10 minutes and then put the hot pot in a box lined with some blankets and wrap the pot up so as it will stay good and darn hot all night. This way you get your beans to soak and cook at the same time, use very little fuel doing it, and the beans will not burn in the process.

In the morning, check the beans. If they are still hard, then you're up too early. Drain off the water (it will be dark-colored) and rinse the beans. Add water to cover the beans and put the pot on to heat. Chop your onions medium coarse and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the fire to a simmer and put the lid on.

Keep the beans stirred just enough to keep them from sticking. Play with 'em too much and you end up with mush, and that is another recipe all together.

After an hour or so, add all the spices except about half of the salt. Score the hocks to the bone to speed their cooking time and chunk them in the pot, too. You will probably want to add the rest of the salt (and some more, perhaps) later, after the spices, molasses and whatnot have cooked for a while. Keep enough liquid in the pot to cover the whole mess.

After a half hour or so, add the molasses and the coffee. If you are in a hurry to eat, you might want to poke around the hocks a bit to help the meat off of the bones. It takes a while for the spices to blend in right, so don't rush in and add more spices just yet. After another hour or hour and a half you will know if they are right. I like more salt in my beans than this recipe calls for, but how much you add is up to you, and now is the time to add the balance of the salt and do any doctorin' to the recipe you may require.

Everybody has different tastes and not everybody's stove or bean pot cooks the same, so this recipe is just a beginning place for a lot of folks... If you don't care for onions or prefer less spice, or if your stove cooks faster'n ours, alter the recipe to suit your needs.

Please note: If you happened to have used a horse blanket to insulate the pot overnight, it is customary to rename the beans to Hoof Hearted.

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