Thursday, January 22, 2009

Brazilian Black Beans

This delicious and relatively simple recipe really jazzes up plain black beans and rice. I think the wine adds a key touch, but according to the cookbook, you can substitute orange juice. The combination of black beans and oranges is a Brazilian/South American one; you don't taste "orange" in the finished dish, but it really adds to the background flavors. This will be a regular winter player around here--while oranges are in season and so cheap. Even better, it takes roughly 1/2 an hour to make!

Recipe from How to Cook Everything, 10th ann. edition (recipe is called "Black Beans with Orange")

  • 3-4 c. cooked black beans with 1 cup cooking liquid (or 2 cans black beans, undrained)
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 navel orange, well washed
  • 2 T. olive oil*
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, preferably red or yellow, chopped**
  • 1 or 2 fresh chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1 or 2 dried chiles, soaked, cleaned, and chopped (optional--I left out)
  • 1 T. minced garlic (or more!)
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine or freshly squeezed orange juice
  • chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

*You may cook about 1 pound smoked sausage or Italian sausage or pork shoulder, cut up, first. If using meat, you won't need the extra oil
**These freeze well, so if you have some frozen from this summer, this meal is quite inexpensive!

  1. Put the beans and their liquid in a large pot over medium heat; add the cumin and a good pinch of salt and pepper, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers.
  2. Halve the orange. Peel one half and add the peel to the beans, then divide the segments and set aside. Squeeze the juice from the other half and set aside.
  3. If using meat, cook it in a large skillet; when done (or browned, if you're using fully cooked sausage), add meat to beans and use remaining drippings. If not using meat, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and chiles, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add this mixture to the beans.
  4. Turn the heat under the skillet up to high and add the wine. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add to the beans along with the reserved orange juice (you'll end up with a few tablespoons, if that, of wine). Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with rice, garnished with reserved orange sections and fresh cilantro.
  5. If making ahead, store in refrigerator for up to 2 days, adding garnishes after final reheating.
Serves 4

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