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Cheesy Skillet Beans

Make this recipe on cold nights when you just need comfort food. Stewed Pintos can be made ahead in big batches so all you need to do is simmer the beans and add your favourite cheese for melting. Serve with baked potatoes and a green salad. 

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Cheesy Skillet Beans
4-5 cups Stewed Pinto Beans 
1-2 cups grated aged cheddar cheese 
Black pepper to taste 

Stewed Pinto Beans
2 cups dry Flourist Pinto Beans
1/4 cup olive or canola oil 
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp salt 
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 14 oz can tomatoes (1 small can)
2 tbsp tomato paste 
6 cups water, up to 2 cups more as needed 
2 tbsp honey 

Soak the beans 6-24 hours before you plan to cook them in plenty of cold water. When ready to cook, drain and rinse. To cook, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and cook until browning, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the salt, ground cumin, and smoked paprika and cook a further two minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add soaked beans, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and water, and stir well. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to maintain a medium simmer (keep the lid on slightly to cover but not tight). Cook the beans in the sauce until soft and the liquid has mostly evaporated, checking to add a cup or more water as necessary. This cooking process should take about 45-50 minutes at which point the tomato sauce will have cooked down and the beans are plump and perfectly cooked. Add the honey in the final few minutes of cooking and stir well. 

When ready to make the cheesy beans, grate the cheese and heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a cast iron skillet, or other oven and flame-proof pan, add the beans and simmer over medium heat to dissolve any extra liquid. Depending on how the beans are cooked, this can take 5-10 minutes. 

When the beans are the desired consistency, top with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is browning and bubbly. Serve piping hot. 

This recipe is a loose guideline and feeds 4-6 as a side. Feel free to experiment with cheeses and the amounts called for. The Stewed Pintos can be made up to a week in advance.

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