This is seriously good stuff. Traditionally a side dish, we eat it as a main course over rice. It needs to cook a while, but most of the time, it's completely unattended. Yum, yum, yum.
1 pound dry black beans
8 c. water
2/3 c. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4-6 sweet chili peppers*
2-4 t. salt
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. pepper
2 bay leaves
2 T. sugar
2 T. dry wine, optional but good
1 1/2 T. vinegar
*something like serranos, poblanos, hot or sweet banana peppers, and so forth; bell peppers can be used in part or full--just reduce amount to 1 bell pepper for every 2-3 hot peppers substituted.
- Soak beans overnight or quick soak (bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, let stand 1 hour off heat and covered) in 4 cups water. Rinse and drain beans.
- Add next 4 cups of water to soaked beans. Bring to a rapid boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour.
- Saute onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil for 10 minutes or until softened.
- Add onions, garlic, peppers, and all dry seasonings to beans. Cover and simmer another hour.
- Add wine, if using, and vinegar, and simmer another hour.
- Check seasonings (and texture of beans). Cook for a little longer with top off if you want the potage thicker. We like it kind of runny so it will provide sauce for rice.
Serves 6-8, depending on use as main dish or side dish
Leftover ideas (it's worth saving 2 cups or so just for the leftovers!): it reheats well on its own. It makes a terrific quesadilla or burrito filling. It also makes a great Mexican-inspired casserole: 2 cups black bean potage (liquid included), 2-3 cups cooked rice, 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 1 cup or so corn kernels, 2 cups cooked chicken if you have it, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and a touch salt (and cayenne if you like it spicy)-->mix all together, saving out 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top. Bake, covered at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly. Uncover and let cheese brown a few minutes.