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Gilroy Beans

  • Category: Side Dish, Vegetables
  • Submitted By: Isaac Owsley
  • Town/State: Sonora, CA
  • Serves: 6 – 8
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Cooking time: 1-2 hours (mostly simmering time for the beans)

I can think of few endings nobler to the leftover bone from a ham served at a Sunday dinner than to wind up in a simmering pot of pinto beans, and what better compliment to that than roasted garlic? These delicious beans earn their name from the whole bulb worth of roasted garlic cloves (enough to make the whole house smell like the garlic capital of the world) added at the beginning of cooking. The mellow sweetness of the roasted garlic has time over the course of cooking to virtually melt into the beans, making every single bite a virtual explosion of intense garlic flavor which lends itself to the smoky sweetness of the ham.

Amount Measure Ingredients
4 cups pinto beans, washed and cleared of any grit
6 Quarts water
1 large ham hock or leftover ham bone with meat on it
20 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp pepper
    salt to taste
1 tsp olive oil

To prepare:

Place the beans and ham bone in a large, heavy bottomed pot with enough water to completely cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes. While the beans are coming to a boil, place the peeled garlic cloves in a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle the olive oil over them. Wrap the aluminum foil around into a parcel and place in a 400 degree oven for 15 -20 minutes or until the garlic is soft and caramelized (will be a rich honey brown color). Add the garlic cloves to the beans and ham and continue to simmer, covered approximately 1 hour. Remove the ham bone from the beans and pull any meat and skin from the bone. Discard the bone and chop the meat and skin into bite sized pieces and place back into the beans, simmer until the beans are tender and cooked thru. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with a chunk of cornbread and a sprinkling of chopped onions or grated sharp cheddar cheese.