A pot o’ beans.
I was talking food with my hired men one day recently and one of them mentioned their mother making bean cakes. Because I’m quirky like that about obscure back country recipes, I was completely struck by “bean cakes” and had to grill him to the ground about what exactly this bean cake thing is. Give me your bean cake secrets.
It’s not a cake, as in a sweet cake. It’s not sweet.
It’s not a patty, as in a vegetarian burger.
It’s made of beans, in a batter, and fried.
Are the beans mashed? No.
Are the beans seasoned? Yes. It’s a leftovers recipe.
What IS the recipe?
Not precise, depends on how much beans you have left over. So don’t get stuck on the amount of beans.
Is the batter as thin as pancakes or as thick as biscuits? Somewhere in between.
What do you put on it when you eat it? Ketchup. (Of course!)
After I took the interrogative spotlight out of his eyes, I went away and came up with this recipe, which blew my mind because it was so delicious. As you can see, I made it based on a cornbread recipe, but this is truly a recipe-less recipe. Meaning, it was born to be fiddled with according to your tastes and what you have on hand. If you don’t like cornbread, use all-purpose flour in total. You could also use self-rising flour and omit the baking powder. You could even straight up use your favorite pancake recipe and add the seasoned beans. This is, at its country soul, a savory bean pancake. But because beans and cornbread go so beautifully together, I wanted to use cornmeal in my batter.
How to make Bean Cakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups seasoned pinto beans, drained*
*Season the beans as you normally like them, adding in onions, peppers, whatever you like.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the beans and stir to combine. (Don’t over-stir.) Then add the beans.
Stir lightly again to combine. See details about making a pot of beans here.
Heat a skillet (iron is best, but a griddle will also do) on medium-high heat. I used an iron skillet with some bacon fat. Pour the batter into the skillet and cook about a minute or so per side.
The cake will bubble up on top (like pancakes do) and tell you it’s time to flip it.
I was actually shocked because these were so good, they were almost addictive. I tried them with ketchup, with hot sauce, and even with syrup (despite the savory ingredients). It was ALL DELICIOUS. They’re even delicious with nothing on top.
This is definitely going into my regular recipe repertoire. Make some–I recommend it!
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