Richard’s Slow Cooker Country Beans (and refried bean substitute)

These are beans that can be cooked and served as is with a side of corn bread or some of the beans (and the other ingredients) can be put through a blender and used as a replacement for refried beans in tostadas or burritos. They are cheap and fairly easy.

Ingredients:
  • One package of dried beans (pinto, black or cannellini)
  • Country ham (I used an 8 oz package of sliced country ham) or a smoked ham hock
  • Water (for soaking the beans)
  • Water or chicken broth for cooking the beans
  • Two 4 oz or 4.5 oz cans of chopped green chilies
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried onion flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Start by rinsing and picking through the dried beans, picking out any broken or shriveled beans and any small stones. Throw the beans in your slow cooker pot and cover with water (about 2 inches over the beans). Put on the lid and let them soak over night.

The next morning, drain and rinse the beans and put them back into the slow cooker. Dice the slices of country ham, fat included and throw it in with the beans. If you are using a ham hock, just bury it in amongst the bean. Throw in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dried onion (maybe a little more as I really don’t measure this) and around a teaspoon of garlic powder. Open the two cans of chopped green chilies and toss them into the slow cooker. Cover with 6 cups of liquid and stir to mix all the ingredients. Chicken broth is best but I used water and threw in some powdered chicken bouillon and about a cup of while white wine I had in the fridge. Put on the lid and cook (about 4 hours on high, 7 to 8 on low).

At the end of the cooking time, taste the beans and decide if they need more time. This would also be the time to season with the salt and pepper as needed. Take out about 1/2 cup of beans (and any sundry pieces of ham that go along for the ride) but try not to get too much liquid. Drop the beans into your blender and process until they are the consistency of refried beans. Be careful as the hot beans can cause pressure to build up in the blender jar.

Return the blended beans to the pot, stirring them in and allow them to cook on low and thicken the beans (this same blender method is how you make the beans into a substitute for refried beans, using as much liquid as needed to get the consistency desired).

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