If you’ve ever been to the California Central Coast for barbecue, then you’re familiar with Santa Maria style beans. Until a few weeks ago, I couldn’t find the pinquito beans in local stores (they’re native to and could only be found in the Santa Maria Valley). I was at Vons and stumbled upon the S & W Pinquito Beans with Onion and Garlic in the canned beans section. They were on sale and I bought a ton! The beans, straight out of the can, are pre-seasoned and are actually really good (great for camping, etc.). But, they do need some additions to taste like the real thing. I scoured the internet for various recipes and each one was very different, so I took ingredients from several and made up my own. I don’t ever recall bacon being in these beans, but added it anyway because…it’s bacon. You can’t go wrong!
This recipe can easily be doubled or quadrupled for a larger crowd.
2 strips of thick cut bacon, chopped
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 T. chili powder
1 small garlic clove, minced or crushed
1 T. tomato paste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet on medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Add the chopped onion and chili powder and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for five minutes more until the onions are soft.
Combine the bacon-onion mixture with the canned beans in a pot. Add tomato paste and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the beans on low for approximately 30 minutes (make sure you don’t overcook them as you don’t want the beans to get too mushy). You can serve them immediately or transfer to a crockpot and keep on warm.