Monday, April 29

Slow Cooked Black Beans

My tastes have changed so much over time and I find myself liking more and more foods that I used to stay far away from. Beans of all kinds used to be at the top of my list of least favorite ingredients, but I recently decided to try making black beans at home and was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. Unlike canned beans (which I still won't go near), dried beans can be cooked until your desired doneness - I prefer mine pretty al dente - and simmer in a seasoned liquid that imparts a great flavor. This recipe (inspired by one in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook) takes a few hours to cook but will last for days after. Eat them simply as a side dish, sprinkle into tacos or burritos, or fold into rice for cheap, easy meals all week.

Slow Cooked Black Beans:
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large, heavy pot.
  • Add in 1 diced onion and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
  • Add in 3-4 minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute.
  • Add in 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tbsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. paprika, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, until it turns a rusty color.
  • Add in 8-9 c. water* and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Stir in 1 lb. dried black beans, a large pinch of salt, and a few sprigs of fresh oregano.
  • Bring the beans to a boil, then cover with a lid and lower to a very low simmer.
  • Cook beans for 2 1/2 hours,** or until tender but not at all mushy.
  • Stir in the juice of 1 lime and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  • Drain off excess liquid and serve.***

Serves eight-twelve
*Or no-sodium chicken broth.
**Dried beans' cooking time can vary greatly. I'd recommend checking the beans at 90 minutes, but they might take over 3 hours to cook.
***Beans will keep in the fridge for several days.