Yummy Pinto Beans

3 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
1/2 cup sucanat (can use brown sugar)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. molasses
12 oz. lean bacon (I have made this dish without this)
3 cups tomato juice ( I have used my own home canned tomatoes, 1qt. or equivalent amounts of canned stewed tomatoes or whatever I had on hand.)
1 tsp. dried mustard
1/2 large onion, finely chopped

Put beans in large pot and cover with water and salt well ( I have read that you should not salt beans before you cook them because they will not cook completely, they will still be hard. I have never found that to be true and always salt my beans. It gives them so much flavor.). Cook beans until soft. Check often as you may need to add more water. When beans are completely cooked drain them, setting aside a few cups of the bean broth, and add tomatoes, spices, molasses. Slowly cook onion and bacon in frying pan. Drain. Add to beans. Add enough of the reserved bean broth to cover beans by one inch. Let this simmer slowly and watch carefully as beans seem to scorch easily, for about one to two hours to allow flavors to blend. This dish is excellent with cornbread or home made bread and a salad.


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