Spark was looking through the Better Homes and Gardens Heritage Cook Book, found this recipe and talked Dad into making them for him.
A little back ground from the books said, "No range cook would start out on the trial without a good supply of dried beans. In fact, mealtime was often referred to as bean time. Some cooks placed their beans over a slow fire to cook at least five hours - a full day's cooking was even better. Others buried the bucket of beans in a hold, full of hot ashes, dug near the fire. If the cook was busy, cowboys who passed by would make sure the ashes were always hot."
1 pound dry pinto beans (2 cups)
7 cups cold water
2 pounds smoked ham hock
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 4-ounce can green chili peppers. (or use a can of RO*TEL for both the paste and the peppers)
2 tablespoons sugar (taste it after putting in one tablespoon for desired sweetness)
Rinse pinto beans thoroughly. (Check through for rocks!) Combine beans and cold water in kettle and bring to a boil. Simmer two minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand one hour. Or the beans can be soaked over night. Do not drain. Add ham hocks and onions. Cover and cook over low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hock. Remove meat from the bones and return meat to the beans. Add tomato paste, chopped chili peppers (or RO*TEL) and sugar. Cover and cook till beans are tender, about 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add additional water if needed. Makes 6 to 8 servings.