The daily beans and skillet fried corn bread!
You may think there is nothing special about this recipe. To me, this plate of food has special memories. The first year that I lived in Vegas was a "hand to mouth" experience. I moved to Las Vegas on a shoe string and I did not have much of a bank roll. I worked a few low paying jobs till I found better work. Much of my income came from horse racing wagers.
During that time, I discovered that I could eat better and get more for my money by dining in casinos. You cannot buy food in a grocery store cheaper than a fully cooked meal or buffet at a casino! Casinos use food as a promotional item.
Downtown on Fremont Street is where the old Las Vegas still lives. I fell in love with the old west atmosphere of Binion's Horseshoe Casino on Fremont. The feel of the place and the very friendly staff was so comforting! Binion's has great old fashioned food at a very modest price.
The old fashioned snack bar style diner by the Binion's craps table pit had a hand written special that was posted on the daily menu board. The special was called "The Daily Beans." The chef's choice of beans changed daily. Limas, pintos, black eyed peas, butter beans, navy beans or red beans were the choices from day to day.
Big pieces of roasted ham were cooked with the daily beans. A huge piece of cornbread was served with The Daily Beans too. The beans were ladled onto a bowl on a plate and the bowl was always over flowing. It was a great, healthy meal for $1.50 and it filled up a hungry belly for a long time. The atmosphere of that little diner by the craps tables is out of this world! It is a great place to chow down and rub elbows!
The Daily Beans - Navy Beans and Ham Recipe:
Keep in mind that this recipe is a pot of stewed beans and not a bean soup! This recipe makes 1 large portion.
Soak 2 cups of dried navy beans in water over night in a refrigerator.
Rinse the beans under cold running water.
Place the soaked navy beans in a sauce pot.
Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion.
Add 6 ounces of hand torn chunks of roasted ham.
Add a 3 ounce piece of salt pork.
Add sea salt and black pepper. (Do not add too much sea salt because the pork and ham are already salty.)
Add enough water to cover the beans with an extra inch of water.
Place the pot over medium high heat.
Bring the beans to a gentle boil.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer the beans, till they become tender and a natural starchy bean gravy is formed. (Add water as necessary. Keep the beans cover with liquid. Stop adding water, when the beans can absorb no more water.)
Cornbread Fried In Chicken Grease Recipe:
Pre-heat a cast iron skillet over medium low heat.
Place 2 cups of corn meal into a mixing bowl.
Add 1 cup of corn flour. (Masa Harina is good for this recipe.)
Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
Add 2 pinches of black pepper.
Add 1 whisked egg.
Add a little bit of milk at a time, while stirring, till the cornbread mixture becomes a loose wet bread dough consistency.
Let the mixture set for 15 minutes.
The corn meal will soak up some of the excess liquid and the dough will become a regular bread dough consistency.
Pour some roasted chicken grease and some vegetable oil in the hot skillet. About a 1/4" deep layer of chicken grease and oil is about enough grease.
Spoon a couple of big dollops of the cornbread dough into the hot grease. (about 1/3 cup)
Press the cornbread dough with a spatula, so it forms a flat, thick oval shape.
Fry the cornbread in the grease, till the bottom side is fully cooked and golden brown.
Flip the cornbread with a spatula and cook the other side, till it turns golden brown.
Set the corn bread on a dry towel to remove the excess grease.
Pan fry 2 to 3 corn cakes total.
The Daily Beans with Cornbread Fried In Chicken Grease:
Place a soup bowl on a serving plate.
Ladle the daily beans into the soup bowl, till the bowl is very full or overflowing.
Place the cornbread fried in chicken grease next to the bowl on the plate.
Serve with butter pats and a bottle of hot sauce.
Beans and ham are a very popular home cooked meal. The flavor of the chicken grease that is used to skillet fry the cornbread becomes the flavor of the corn bread itself. This spoon corn bread is authentic southern style cooking.
This is a simple recipe that gets the most flavor from just a few ingredients. A bottle of hot sauce is a nice accompaniment for this meal.
Binion's "The Daily Beans and Cornbread" is in a comfort zone all of its own! If you let the beans simmer all day, like they do at Binion's Casino, then the bean gravy gets rich and thick. Yum! ... Shawna