Reba McEntire's Pinto Beans & Cornbread Is the Epitome of Southern Comfort

Reba McEntire's Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Growing up in the south, my culinary journey was deeply influenced by the rich tapestry of flavors found in the region. With a childhood spent on farms gathering fresh eggs and participating in the tradition of hunting wild game, my palate developed a genuine appreciation for the authentic tastes of the south.

My grandparents, avid hunters and enthusiastic fishermen, further cultivated my love for the region's culinary delights. In particular, my grandmother—who was a skilled cook—played a pivotal role in shaping my taste preferences. Her daily culinary ventures and occasional preparation of my grandfather's and my favorite dishes and desserts made our shared meals truly memorable.

Recently, I stumbled upon a recipe for Reba McEntire's Pinto Beans and Cornbread, and it instantly resonated with me. It wasn't just because the recipe was from a country music icon; rather, it transported me back to a time when my grandmother would make similar dishes. These were the comforting, hearty meals that provided solace after long, challenging days or during rainy and cold spells when such a dish was the epitome of warmth and satisfaction. Recreating this recipe became more than a culinary endeavor; it became a nostalgic journey, a way to bring back the cherished flavors of my upbringing and the enduring legacy of my family's culinary traditions.

Get the recipe: Reba McEntire's Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Reba McEntire's Cornbread Prep<p>Courtesy of Choya Johnson</p>
Reba McEntire's Cornbread Prep

Courtesy of Choya Johnson

Ingredients for Reba McEntire’s Pinto Beans and Cornbread

To prepare the pinto beans, gather the following ingredients: Dry pinto beans, kosher salt, end piece of bacon slab roughly chopped—or alternatively, six slices of roughly chopped thick-cut bacon. You'll also need a whole yellow onion, a whole peeled carrot, bay leaves, chicken stock, sherry vinegar, freshly ground black pepper and hot sauce (optional).

For the accompanying cornbread, grab some fine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, eggs, honey, melted unsalted butter and buttermilk. If you don't happen to have any buttermilk on hand, you can sub it out for 1 cup of whole milk whisked with 1 teaspoon of vinegar.

How To Make Reba McEntire’s Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Begin by rinsing the dry pinto beans thoroughly with cold water. Transfer them to a large bowl and cover them with a few inches of fresh water. Stir and let them soak at room temperature for about 12 hours. After soaking, drain and rinse the beans.

In a large pot, add the soaked beans with fresh water (enough to cover them by a few inches) and sprinkle in some salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, remove the pot from heat, drain the beans and rinse them gently. Wipe the pot and return it to the stove.

Cook the chopped bacon in the pot until it the fat renders, then add the onions and carrots. Sauté until the bacon is browned and the veggies are softened before adding the beans and bay leaves to the pot. Pour in the chicken stock until the beans are covered by at least 3 inches of liquid. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft (about 1 hour and 30 minutes). As the beans cook, keep an eye on the pot. You want the beans to simmer but not boil. If the liquid begins to boil, turn the heat down to bring it back to a simmer.

<p>Courtesy of Choya Johnson</p>

Courtesy of Choya Johnson

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Add the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pot from heat, discard the bay leaves and blend a cup of beans until smooth. Stir the pureed beans back into the pot. Serve immediately, adding hot sauce if you'd like.

While the beans are cooking, make the cornbread. Put a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven while the oven heats up to 375°. In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, honey and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and start whisking. Add the buttermilk and continue to stir until the mixture forms a thick batter.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven, pour in the batter and place it back in the oven. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center, which should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the cornbread cool before serving alongside the pinto beans.

Related: Reba McEntire Recalls Sweet Moment She Connected With Boyfriend Rex Linn: 'Like a Magnet'

Reba McEntire's Pinto Beans and Cornbread<p>Courtesy of Choya Johnson</p>
Reba McEntire's Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Courtesy of Choya Johnson

What I Thought of Reba McEntire’s Pinto Beans and Cornbread

Reba McEntire's pinto beans and cornbread combo creates a delicious blend of flavors and textures. The rich and hearty pinto beans exude a comforting aroma that draws you in with every spoonful. The beans are perfectly cooked, providing a velvety texture that melds seamlessly with the savory broth.

As for the cornbread, well, it's a golden masterpiece that achieves the perfect balance of moistness and crumbly goodness. Its slightly sweet undertones complement the savory notes of the beans, creating a gastronomic experience that lingers on the palate. Together, Reba McEntire's pinto beans and cornbread embody the essence of Southern comfort, leaving a lasting impression of warmth and deliciousness.

Tips For Reba McEntire’s Pinto Beans and Cornbread

  1. Add rice. Adding a warm heaping of white rice to the beans will make this dish a bit more filling.

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