I had plans for my pinto beans – a great future as molten smoky tastiness to be served with rice. Soaked them overnight with great anticipation. Got some fancy-pants sausage (a whopping $5.99 per lb for a fancy store brand!!!) and dried bayleaf at the fancy-pants store nearby. Got home and sauteed the sausage with onions to bring out the flavors prior to adding to said beans, which were starting to simmer in a slow cooker.
I took a bite of the sausage…oh no! This sausage would serve pedestrian applications, like sandwich filling, or accompaniment to eggs, just fine. But here, I was asking it to serve a higher purpose: stand up to the beans! What to do, what to do. Then I remember that I had a nice bottle of California cabernet sauvignon from Pipestone Vineyards that I had. Mind you, I got this for free, since I don’t drink…so, I would not spend $ on such a nice wine. Then I thought – what about a wine-y, bastardized, pasta e fagioli? I threw a spaghetti sauce, the wine and then chicken stock into the saute. This all went into the slow cooker.
My friends picked me up. While we hung out, the beans simmered, simmered, and simmered in the slow-cooker. Upon returning home, the beans rewarded me with the true flavors of victory: complex and round. As an added plus, let me mention that the wine imparts a beautiful, attractive color to the beans and onions. And that is how I averted certain crisis!