Monday, May 29, 2006

Tired of bland black beans? I know I am. After a visit to a Mexican restaurant while on vacation recently, where I was served some very bland beans, I feel the world needs some schooling on how to make these. So I start here. This is a "recipe" I learned from working at a Mexican restaurant and from the handful of Mexicans I worked with during my externship. I use quotes because I will give you no measurements here. Use your head. Put in what looks good and makes sense. I will be nice and give approx. counts though.

In a large pot, place:
black beans (which you've, of course, soaked overnight. Right?)
garlic (approx 1-2 cloves to every cup of black beans) - crushed
onions (approx 1/2 large to each cup) - quartered

Cover with only the amount of water needed to cover. Bring to simmer.
Continue to simmer until beans are soft. You will need to add additional water while simmering, as well as stir occasionally.
When the beans are almost soft, stop adding water, stir more and let the rest of the water just evaporate.

Remove the garlic and onions. If you don't get them all, it's no big deal, they're basically mush by now.
Finish with some salt to taste. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SALT.
Top with finely chopped white onions and cilantro.

** Addition: If you can find it, add some dried epazote to the simmering dish. Cleveland folks, you can get this easily at Mi Pueblo. Just a large pinch **

Options for meat eaters:
When simmering, add pork fat/lard. It'll taste that much better.
Top with Mexican chorizo when finished.

You can use these beans for tacos, smashed and fried for refried beans, for the base of an awesome bean salad or just used on their own.