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1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
2. Saute the onion and bell pepper in the pan, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
4. Add the cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper to the pan; stir and cook for 1 minute longer.
5. In go the black beans. Stir and cook for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
6. Mash half the beans with the back of a wooden spoon, a potato masher, or an immersion blender.
7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

This condiment can be used the way refried beans are. Check back soon and I’ll show you what I did with them.

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photo(11)

4 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa (1 1/2 cups uncooked; can use a blend of red and white quinoa)
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 hearts of romaine
2 tsp olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 limes

1. Preheat a grill pan over high heat.
2. Cut the romaine hearts in half lengthwise, keeping the end intact to hold the leaves together. Brush with 1 tsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Place the romaine on the grill and cook until nice grill marks are achieved. Remove and cool.
4. Roughly chop the romaine and add to the cooked quinoa.
5. Add the remaining ingredients and the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil and stir to combine (do not over stir because it will make the quinoa gummy).

Future considerations: cumin, fresh herb?

As promised in this recent post, I prepared a mean chili for last weekend’s Super Bowl.

Start by rendering bacon in a bit of oil in a large pot. Once slightly crispy, remove the bacon, leaving the bacon fat in the pot, and set aside. Sweat chopped onions and garlic in the fat. (For a spicier version, add chopped jalape├▒os to the party at this point.)

Once the onions are translucent, add the spices and toast for 1-2 minutes: paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon and cocoa powder all made it into my chili. (Here is when you should deglaze with a bottle of beer and allow it to reduce, a step which I forgot.)

Now add ground beef and cook until it just loses its pink color, stirring often to break the meat apart. Pour in canned diced tomatoes, rinsed canned black beans and the reserved bacon and add enough chicken broth to cover.

Over low heat, strirring occasionally, cook the chili until the liquid has mostly evaporated, which, for me, took about two hours. Season with salt to taste.

 

I know that you’re supposed to have soup when you’re sick, but after trying this–gulp–vegetarian chili, it hit the spot. Maybe I still feel like $#!+, but at least I had a taste of comfort food, and all I had to do was a little prep work the night before, and turn the slow cooker on in the morning.

I came home from work, spooned some chili into a big bowl and topped it with Greek yogurt and sliced scallions.*

You can find the recipe here, on the Real Simple website. Take the opportunity to actually enjoy this meatless chili; I’m not saying it’s better than a beefy variety, but it’s damn tasty.

*Please note: when I am sick, there is little motivation for me to eat in my underwear; however, once I recover, I’ll be stripping down to enjoy this little number. And I won’t feel guilty after polishing off a bowl (or two).