Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beans & Fried Bread

Are you on a diet? Should you be on a diet? (you don't have to answer that!) Should I be on a diet? (I plead the fifth, lol) If you you answered yes to any of these questions, walk away. Yes, walk away because once you've tried fried bread you will forever be spoiled.

Growing up one of the staples in our home as with a lot of Mennonite homes was pinto beans, cooked on the stove top but made sort of like baked beans. My dad could live off of this meal, served with bread, tortillas, or fried bread. It was served on a weekly basis in our home and I also prepare this quite often, but serving it with the fried bread is considered a treat.

What is fried bread? Fried bread! And like most foods, once you've tried your bread fried, you'll always want it...

Once again like all other Mennonite recipes, everyone prepares them a little differently. And I don't even know whether all Mennonites are familiar with this or whether it's regional to Mexico or Belize, but try them and judge for yourselves! I've only given rough measurements as most often these are just made by sight or taste, adjusting as you need to.

Pinto Beans:

2 cups raw pinto beans, washed
6 cups water

Let this gently boil in a larger pot until beans are completely tender, the fresher the dried beans are the less time it takes. It can take anywhere from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours and you will most likely need to add more water, I like these beans quite juicy so I use quite a bit of water. Once tender add the following:

1/2 cup oil or bacon drippings
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup canned salsa (adjust to personal taste)
1 tsp brown sugar

Let this gently boil until the broth thickens, usually about 15-25 minutes.

Again this is just how I make them, some add the salsa, some don't. I find the brown sugar helps to thicken the broth and the salsa just gives it a nice flavour. Adding some caramelized onions is also really good. You may need to add just a little bit more oil, you'll have to eye it. We usually serve this with cooked rice, just mix it together.

Now for the bread, you can use whatever white bread recipe you have on hand or you can use mine. I usually make just a small batch of this stuff, not a full bread recipe.

White Bread:

1 cup warm water
1 scant tbsp yeast

Let this sit for 5 minutes, then add:

1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp salt salt
2 tsp sugar
approx. 4 cups white flour

Knead until you have a nice elastic dough, cover and let this rise for a while. I try to let it rise for 30-60 minutes, but if you're pressed for time you could use it right away.

Cut dough into small golf ball sized pieces and flatten with the palm of your hand on a greased counter top. Fry in hot oil just like you would for doughnuts. Now it's your choice if you want to salt the bread as it comes out, it's just like for fries, better if you do and healthier if you don't!


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