Thursday, October 22, 2009

Black Bean Potage

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.

Recipes combined from Recipezaar and Group Recipes

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Add next 4 cups of water to soaked beans. Bring to a rapid boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour.
  3. Saute onions, garlic, and peppers in olive oil for 10 minutes or until softened.
  4. Add onions, garlic, peppers, and all dry seasonings to beans. Cover and simmer another hour.
  5. Add wine, if using, and vinegar, and simmer another hour.
  6. 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.

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