Thursday, July 26, 2012

Basic Black Beans

Black beans are among my favorite legumes because they are earthy, meaty, tender and downright tasty.  Their flavor is incomparable.  Served as a vegetarian main course, the beans will provide you with a lot of good iron and protein which are essential to our every day diets.  As a side dish, black beans are a delicious accompaniment to so many things such as chicken, pork, beef, shrimp and of course, sausages of all kinds.  At home we love the combination of hearty chicken or turkey sausages and black beans, served with vegetables and a rice pilaf.

I make a small pot of black beans at least once or twice a month here at home, using them several ways for lunches or dinners.  Although I have nothing against canned beans or legumes of any sort (I do stock them in my pantry for emergencies or last minute preparations), I find it so easy to make my own from scratch.  With only 4 ingredients one has the ability to create something delicious without having to spend too much time in the kitchen.  Most of the work is done in the pot and if you prefer to cook things in a crockpot, even better!  Let me show you my favorite way to prepare black beans.  It's quite easy.


 Black Beans with Steamed Rice
The Ingredients
  • 1 lb. dry black beans {453 grams}, picked over for stones
  • l small onion (white or yellow), chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, left whole
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded & diced (optional!)
  • salt to taste
Yield: at least 8 servings

Rinse the black beans in a colander under cold water to remove any dirt or residue.  Place them in a stockpot or dutch oven and add cold water to cover by at least 3 inches {7 1/2 centimeters}.  Discard any beans that float to the top.  Turn on your heat to high.

Add the chopped onion, jalapeños (if using) & garlic cloves.  Cover the pot with a lid and bring up to a boil.  As soon as the beans come up to a boil, give them a quick stir then lower your heat to low; cover the pot with a lid.  Simmer, undisturbed until cooked through.  Check the water level once or twice during cooking to make sure it hasn't fallen dramatically.  If it does, add boiling water to the pot to cover (never add cold water to a simmering pot of beans).  Toward the end of cooking, carefully taste the beans for doneness.  When they are toothsome with just a bit more time left to cook, add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot (less if you wish or to taste); stir well. 

Total Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours.

Cooking time will depend on the age of the beans.  Older beans take longer to cook than younger ones.  Buy your dried legumes from a store that  has a high turnover rate.


Tasty & nutritious.

I always use a rimmed soup bowl to serve the beans if I plan on adding a bit of the cooking liquid.  This one is Wedgwood Queen's Ware.


You can certainly multiply this recipe several times over if you plan to serve a very large crowd, just make sure you have one large pot or several of them on hand.  Cooked beans freeze extremely well, so any leftovers can be frozen in airtight containers (with cooking liquid) for a few weeks; thaw them in a microwave or on the stovetop until bubbly hot.  For me, the most natural way to serve and enjoy black beans is with some steamed rice or with some pilaf.  Some people prefer to eat these legumes soupy, with a bit of the cooking liquid, while others prefer to have them dry, without any cooking liquid.  Whichever way you want to eat these tasty black morsels, enjoy every bite!

2 comments:

  1. Hi David:

    My grocery store had black beans half off this week, so I took it as a sign that I should try your recipe. :)

    I find jalapenos a bit too strong, so I substituted a bell pepper. De-lish! Thanks for posting your recipe. I look forward to making them again.

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  2. Hi Christine!
    I'm glad you enjoyed making and eating those black beans; the bell pepper substitution sounds great. Aren't they good? As for the jalapeno peppers: I always find that they're hit or miss. Sometimes they can be as mild as a bell pepper and other times they can be hotter than...well, you know!

    David

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