As a Southern, born and bred, I know I'm supposed to eat black eyed peas and collard greens on New Year's Day. Except for 2 years in a row, I found myself in the pantry with a can or two of pinto beans, but no black eyed peas. Since then, I've given up and decided that fate wants me start the year off with pinto beans. I hardly ever make this dish, but every time I do, I'm surprised by how much I enjoy it and swear I'm going to make it more often. As it is Southern and involves beans, the original recipe called for bacon or fatback. My personal substitution for that flavor is to throw in a dried chipotle: it adds smoke, heat and tons of flavor. And if I'm in the the mood for the added fat, I throw in a hunk of butter. Mmm, butter. Anyways, put these beside some of my favorite greens, a sweet potato or piece of cornbread, to feel nice and Southern yourself.
Smokey Pinto Beans
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 dried chipotle
2-3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
1 14 oz can pinto beans, or 1 cup dried, soaked and simmered
salt and pepper to taste
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium pot over medium to medium high heat. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down and sauce has thickened. Add beans, and cook for another 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender. Remove chipotle before serving.