Monday, December 1, 2008

Black Beans

I have been working for the last 10 years to develop a taste for beans. Now I have to say I do like black beans when they are cooked and seasoned well AND with cheese and tomatoes on top.
Remember to go slow if you are just starting to eat beans, eat only a little bit at a time while your body gets used to all that extra fiber! Babies can start eating beans as soon as they are on solids, but mash them for babies under 9 months.
This much beans lasts my family at least 2 meals. Beans freeze great, so you can double it and save small batches in the freezer for later!

Black Beans

1 lb. dry black beans (about 2 c.)
3 T. vegetable or canola oil
1 small yellow onion + 8 cloves
2-4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bay leaves
1/2 - 1 tsp. chili powder (to taste, up to 2 T)
1 T. cumin
1/2-1 T. salt (to taste)
pepper to taste
1 c. Sofrito (optional, or more to taste)


Sort beans, checking for small pebbles or discolored beans (discard). Rinse with cold water then soak beans 4-24 hours. Water should be 2 inches above beans to allow plenty of room to expand. Drain off soak water and rinse beans again.


black beans
peeled onion, cut it in quarters, and stick a few cloves in each quarter
bay leaves
cover with 2-3 c. water*

Stovetop: Bring to a boil in a large pot; cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 1 1/2 - 2 hours until beans are tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves and chunks of onion and discard. Season with remaining ingredients and heat another 15-30 min. to allow flavors to mingle.

Crockpot: Make sure beans are covered by about 1 in. Add more water if necessary. Cook on High for 6 hours. 30 min. before time is up, add the seasonings and check for tenderness of beans. Remove bay leaves and chunks of onion before serving.

Pressure Cooker: Cook according to manufacturer directions, I use 10 c. water to 2 lb. (4 c.) beans. Add seasonings and cook without top another 15-30 min. while flavors meld.

Serving: Cook white or brown rice and your choice of toppings. Also, goes great on a tortilla, in taco soup, mashed for refried black beans, etc.

Optional Toppings: Cheddar cheese, tomatoes, red or green onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, lime slices, avocado, salsa, sour cream, etc.

*Different pots allow different amounts of liquid to escape while cooking. If your beans are too runny, you can 1. mix in some bean flour to thicken the gravy, 2. continue to cook to boil off more water, 3. drain off some liquid before adding seasonings.

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