Bring out your slow cooker to make this Southwestern Pinto Beans and Beef. It's hearty, comforting and delicious!
This classic pinto beans with beef and bacon is so easy to make and perfect when you want a bowl of good comfort food.
I have been making this southwestern style pinto beans and beef since the late 70's! I found it in my 1975 edition of Crockery Cookery by Mable Hoffman. Back then I used my avocado green crockpot to have dinner waiting for me after classes.
I started making it in college, it was the absolutely perfect after a chilly football game.
There are a few extra steps at the beginning, but it's so worth it. A deep flavored beefy broth, perfectly cooked beans, topped with your favorite toppings.
Did I mention that it has bacon?!
Bacon - the original recipe called for salt pork. I have an easier time finding bacon and I almost always have bacon in my fridge. Use the rest for Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup with Bacon!
Spices - chili powder and cumin. Sometimes if I have time I use whole cumin seeds, toast them and then grind them. So much more flavorful.
Garlic, chili pepper, onion - can substitute crushed red pepper flakes for the fresh chili pepper.
Tomato paste - you'll need a 6oz can.
Pinto Beans - dried.
Marjoram - the original recipe called for 1//2 teaspoon of marjoram, but I didn't have any.
Step by step instructions.
Soak beans overnight in water. Drain them and add them to the slow cooker.
Brown the bacon until crispy.
Using a slotted spoon scoop out the bacon and add it to the beans in the slow cooker.
Mince the onions, pepper and garlic.
At this point, I deviate from the original recipe. In the original recipe, after browning the salt pork, you just dump everything in the slow cooker and start cooking.
I don't want to let a hot skillet with flavorful bacon grease go to waste!
So I browned the beef in the bacon grease for about 3-4 minutes or until nice and brown. Then I added the onions, garlic and pepper and cooked for a couple of minutes until softened.
Sorry, my photos are out of order in this collage!
I pour out the beef mixture in the slow cooker. Then pour in a cup of water into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits and add that the to slow cooker.
Add 5 more cups of water to the slow cooker, the spices and the tomato paste.
Stir to combine and cook on low for 9-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
Taste and adjust for seasonings.
Top with your favorite toppings and I highly recommend some corn bread on the side to soak up all that amazing broth!
Perfectly cooked beans, bacon, beef in a dark, rich broth - it doesn't get any better than that!
I like to keep mine simple with shredded cheese and jalapeño slices.
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Slow Cooker Pinto Beans with Beef and Bacon
- 1 lb dried pinto beans soaked overnight in 6 cups water
- ½ lb bacon chopped
- 1 lb boneless chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 red chili pepper sliced, or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon marjoram optional
- Drain beans and add them to the slow cooker.
- Brown the bacon until crispy and then use a slotted spoon to add it to the beans in the slow cooker.
- Brown the beef until well browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic and chili pepper and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the beef mixture into the slow cooker. Pour about a cup of water into the skillet over medium high heat and scrape up any browned bits and add all of that to the slow cooker.
- Add the spices and the tomato paste and 5 more cups of water. Stir to combine and cook on low for 9-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
- Serve with your favorite toppings if desired.