Soaking the Beans
Soaking the black beans is critical. How you do could determine whether or not you'll be farting all the next day. In my directions, I'll assume you'd prefer not.
Begin the soak the night before you plan to cook. Dump the beans into a collander. Rinse well. Sort carefully, picking out any rocks or other debris.
Then dump the beans into a large pot, and cover with cold water to a 2-inch depth.
The next morning (at least 8 hours), drain the beans and give them a very good rinse. Then return them to the pot, refill with cold water, and soak for the rest of the morning (at least 4 hours).
When you are ready to cook, drain the beans and give a final, thorough rinse. If you soaked them in the pot you'll be using to cook them, be sure to give it a good cleaning first.
Unless you are particularly sensitive to the enzymes, you really don't need any additives or fancy preparations. All you need is lots of time and lots of cold, clean water. Forget the "quick soak" methods you may read about. If you want quick, make youself a bowl of oatmeal.
Black beans are zesty critters. They are a staple of Southwest and Cuban cuisines. Throw in a couple of jalapeño peppers and you'll get a good zing. Exactly how much zing depends on how you prepare the peppers.
The flesh of the pepper is spicy, but that's not where the heat is. The heat is in the seeds. If you leave the seeds in you'll get quite a kick. If you take them out, it won't be quite so fiery.
I opt for a midway solution. I slice the peppers thin, and about half the seeds just fall out onto the cutting board, where I leave them.
If you haven't handled jalapeños before, be careful. With long exposure, your fingers will begin to burn. And for goodness sake, don't rub your eyes after handling them.
I didn't measure any of the spices, so these are my best guesses. Use your judgement, I'm not sure I make this the same way twice anytime--but it's always great.
Here are the ingredients:
- 16 oz. package of dried black beans, rinsed and soaked as described above
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- one large yellow onion, diced
- one large bell pepper, diced
- four jalapeño peppers, sliced
- two bay leaves (if you have them)
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Throw all the ingredients into a big pot, bring to a boil. Leave the cover askew so the steam can escape. Simmer about two hours, until beans are tender.
Okay, now what?
Beans and rice. Tasty and filling and very healthy.
Beans and rice and veggies. I like adding cooked zucchini.
Black bean tacos. My favorite! Try beans, cheese, sprouts, sour cream and salsa, all on a hot, fresh flour tortilla.
A great side dish to almost any meal. Well, maybe not spaghetti.