Monday, January 11, 2010

Pot of Black Beans

During college, I went to Central America (primarily Guatemala) for a semester and feel in love with black beans. I came home motivated and learned how to make basic dried black beans. When I first started working and had no money, I spent a lot of time eating those said black beans on rice. In due time, my paycheck increased, I discovered the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbooks, and Cooking Light Magazine. I roamed away from black beans. If I ate them, it was in a restaurant or out of a can with a meal. It's been a good ten years or so since I've last opened a bag of black beans up, soaked them overnight, and simmered them throughout an afternoon.

For some reason, I felt inspired this weekend. Maybe it was seeing someone on facebook talk about making a pot of beans. Maybe it was the cold that settled over us for the weekend. Whatever, it was, I went to the store, bought a bag of beans, and searched for a new recipe of black beans (not wanting the old, tired recipe that was so 10 years ago).

The revival is complete!! I made a fabulous pot of black beans that made the whole house smell delightful and went beautifully with our pseudo cochinita pibil (a citrus marinated boston butt--pork shoulder), rice and pickled onions. I am excited to make these again and can see myself eating a comforting bowl of rice and black beans (and some pickled onions too) on cold days when it is just I (the baby, not me, myself and I) and me at home. I loved these with bacon grease, but you could easily make these vegetarian or just healthier by using something like canola or, even better for you, olive oil.

Black Beans
adapted from Homesick Texan

1 1/2 c dried black beans
1 T bacon grease (see above)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 chipotle in adobo, chopped (you can use up to 3, depending on how spicy you like things)
1 T oregano or epazote
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
water (to cover beans) or a water and chicken broth combo
1/2 t cumin
1 T tomato paste
1/4 c lime juice
1 t salt (or to taste)

Soak the bean covered in water--either overnight or the quick soak method in which you place the beans in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat, and let sit for one hour.

Drain the soaked beans. In a large soup pot/dutch oven, saute the onions and carrots in the bacon grease for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Add the drained beans, chipotle(s), oregano, and 1/4 c cilantro. Cover the beans with liquid (water and/or chicken broth), bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 1 1/2 hours. (If you are making this ahead of time, stop here, let the pot cool, and then refrigerate until you are closer to when you are serving them). Add the cumin, tomato paste, lime juice, salt, and remaining 1/4 c cilantro and cook for 30 more minutes. (If you refrigerated in the middle, allow yourself 45 minutes. Return pot to a boil first, then add cumin, etc, and cook for 30 minutes).

Serve on rice (or however you please).

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