Monthly Archives: June 2012

Appalachian Favorites- Pinto Bean Soup and Cornbread

Sorry I’m late in this recipe. Stuff came up. But since I’m late, I’m going to give you a two-fer.

When I was young, I had several favorite meals, unfortunately most had grease as a major ingredient. But my favorite meal then and now was soup beans and cornbread. Now, I have to identify the soup as pinto bean soup, since apparently people from other parts of the world don’t recognize soup beans.

I admit, I don’t do this soup well but my mother and sister make the best soup I’ve ever had. They each do them different ways. My mom uses a pressure cooker and my sister cooks the beans in a dutch oven on the stove. I’m going to give you the stove top recipe.

Pinto Bean Soup

1 lb. pinto beans, soaked overnight and rinsed, drained

Salt to taste

Oil (4 Tablespoons) Old fashioned way- a chunk of fat back bacon.

Place in dutch oven or large soup pot (3-4 qt. size) and cover with water til it reaches about 2 inches above beans.  Add salt to taste (start with a couple tablespoons) and oil. My sister uses olive oil, my mother vegetable oil. This replaces the bacon that we grew up with, thanks to health consciousness. Your choice. Bring to a boil over high heat, turn to low and cook between 2 to 4 hours, depending on freshness of beans.  Watch to see if you need to add water as the beans plump. When almost done, you can turn up the heat and cook the soup down to your desired thickness.

My mom uses the pressure method. She puts the ingredients in the pressure cooker, seal it and start on medium high heat then adjust heat as needed til beans are done. The cook time is reduced to about 30 minutes. After the beans are done and the cooker is unsealed (be careful if you aren’t familiar with this procedure), cook the soup down to desired thickness over medium high heat.



About 2 cups corn meal

1/2 cup flour, self rising

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup milk or milk and water combined (can use buttermilk in place of the milk)

baking soda

optional- 1 egg

2-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a cast iron skillet, place oil in skillet and heat on stove top over medium heat til hot. Combine ingredients, pour into hot skillet (this helps make the crunchy crust). Place skillet in hot oven, bake about 15 minutes or til top is cracking and firm when pressed (or you can use a toothpick to see if it comes out clean when pushed into the bread). Turn out onto a plate.


Serve the beans with favorites- chow chow, onions, pickled beets, hot peppers and so on.