My guess is that you don’t eat too many red beans. I say that because aside from my family, and people I have converted through force-feeding, I can’t say I’ve met too many people whose eyes light up at the mention of “red beans.” Sad, sad, sad. You don’t know what you’re missing. Red beans and cornbread are Southern comfort food at its best.
I did live in the south as a young girl, but that’s not where I learned to love red beans. Grandma’s cooking did it. These beans were a staple at my grandparents’ farm, right here in Snohomish, Washington. Just about any time you walked through the door, you could count on being served up a bowl of beans. If they weren’t bubbling on the stove, there was probably a little stash left over in the fridge from the last batch.
Cornbread from a box? Don’t scoff till you’ve had a bite.
This recipe is from a friend, and yes … it’s made from boxed cornbread. I have other recipes that require cornmeal, and a few I make that require I dump some dried corn in my grain mill and grind it into flour. But after you try Sonya’s no-fail recipe, you won’t ask for the others.
First Grandma’s beans:
- 1 lb red beans, picked over and rinsed
- water to cover all about doubled
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 lb bacon
- salt, pepper, garlic powder
- Tabasco sauce (optional)
First, check over your beans to get rid of any little gray dirt balls that might be in the package. It happens. Rinse the beans well and put in a big-enough bowl. I know you thought I would tell you to soak the beans overnight, but as I’ve said before, I come from a long line of bean-not-soakers.
In your Grandma’s Dutch oven, which you will of course pass on to your own grandchildren one day, fry the bacon till the fat is rendered (or as my granddaughter, Maddy says, “surrendered,” as in, “You surrendered that bacon really good, Grandma.”). Remove bacon, cut or tear into pieces, and add to the bowl holding the rinsed beans. In the bacon grease remaining in the Dutch oven, fry the onions on low till caramelized, then add the beans and bacon to the pot. Yes, you keep every bit of the grease. Don’t look at me like that.
Pour water over all, at least double the depth of the beans. You’ll probably add more later. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Give it three or four healthy shakes of garlic powder. Cover and cook on low for an hour, then check to make sure the water level isn’t too low. This is what it looks like when you need to add more water:
You want broth with these beans, so just add water with that in mind. My thinking about this is that you can always cook off the excess, but if there’s too little, you won’t have enough broth. So I’m generous when I add.
Keep cooking and checking until the beans are very tender. Then take a masher and smash a few of the beans to thicken the broth. I don’t always do this, but sometimes it sounds good.
Season with more of everything if it needs it. Add four or five dashes of Tabasco if you like that.
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but soup, chowder, stew and beans all taste better in a big, homey, handcrafted mug. Scientific fact. I can’t find any exactly like mine anymore, but these are very close.
This is funny. After I typed up the recipe and uploaded the pictures, I realized I had already posted Grandma’s bean recipe. Well, if you want to see different pictures and read a slightly different recipe (I really spelled it out bean- and water-wise for you in the other post), click here.
- 3 boxes Jiffy Cornbread mix
- 4 eggs
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 pint sour cream
- 1 stick butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put cube of butter in a 9 x 13 pan and put pan in oven to melt butter. Check on this to make sure the butter doesn’t burn.
In mixing bowl, combine Jiffy mix, eggs, creamed corn, and sour cream. For the size of sour cream shown, I used just half.
Mix well, making sure no dry spots remain in mixing bowl. If butter is melted in pan, pull pan out of oven and scoop batter over all.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until cornbread is cooked through and edges are browning. Those browned edges are amazing … salty, buttery, crunchy … sigh.