Introducing: Black Bean Week with Basic Black Beans

I believe very much in the black bean. So much so, that I’m calling this “black bean week.”  The recipes featured this week will all include black beans, and many of them this very recipe as the base. The black bean is not only gorgeous and delicious in its own right, but it carries flavors like a champ.

I do not pre-soak beans. There are all kinds of different stories about this. I have found that soaking maybe kills 15 minutes from cooking. I’m happy to just cook them in the pot. I understand that if one uses a pressure cooker, that cooking time is greatly reduced. That is my future. Right now, at this moment, I give you my present black bean recipe. Oh, and you can also do this basic recipe with organic canned beans. They aren’t as delicious, but it makes the cooking time about 30 minutes.

So, this is my basic black bean recipe. I am probably a little heavier on the spices in practice. Do with it what you will….

Image courtesy of sritangphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sritangphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Black Beans

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time: 1.5 hours (unless you use a pressure cooker. I haven’t done that, yet.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 c dried black beans (or 2 cans of organic canned black beans)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 t (or more) cumin
  • 1 t (or more) ground black pepper
  • 1 t (or more) ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 t (or more) paprika
  • 2 T olive or grapeseed oil
  • 6 c water plus one kettle of hot water (in case you need more while cooking)
  • generous handfull, flat leaf parsley
  • salt to taste

Garnish suggestions:

Directions:

  1. Wash and pick your black beans. This About.com article gives more explicit instructions concerning dry black bean preparation.
  2. In large dutch oven, stock pot, or stew pot, heat 6 c water to boiling and add dry beans. Bring water back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium or medium high, and cover.
  3. Cook beans for 45 minutes. Remove beans from heat and pour beans and cooking water into another container (or, if you have 2 stockpots, you can simply keep the beans in this pot, for now).*
  4. Put oil in final cooking pot, and heat on medium to medium-high.
  5. Add cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and paprika to the oil and heat until fragrant.
  6. Add onion to the oil and cook until just translucent.
  7. Add garlic, bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until just softened.
  8. Add beans, bean cooking water (or complete contents of the bean cans), and parsley, and cook until beans are completely done, adding water when necessary. For thicker bean liquid (great for dips and taco/burrito filling), uncover the pot and reduce the water until thick.
  9. Serve in individual bowls and have garnishes placed around the dining table or on a buffet, so guests can taylor their dish.

*The spices and vegetables make the base for the flavor of the dish, of course. You can, if you so wish, begin with the following steps and then cook the dry beans with the vegetables for the entire time. I do not, however, because I don’t want the veggies to completely break down. Either way it is fine.

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