Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Baja Black Beans

 'Baja Black Beans' I like the alliteration. Okay, I've never been to Baja, California, but I do love black beans and cook them often in as many different ways as possible. I love these-- the orange juice brings a slight sweetness to the dish without being overt. Make these vegan by omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth rather than chicken broth.

1 bag (16 oz) dry black beans, soaked overnight
8 oz. smoked lardoons, or chopped bacon, cooked until crisp
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 fat cloves garlic, minced
½ cup orange juice
1 and ½ cups beef or chicken stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes, including juice
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Sea salt to taste

1) Preparing the beans: Soak the beans over night, drain and pour into a large pot, cover by 2” with water and simmer for about 1-2 hours, until tender. This can all be done ahead of time and the beans held, or, if you so wish—just use tinned black beans, probably 3 tins. Dried beans have a nicer texture, but tinned beans are easier. Your call.

2) Add the prepared beans and everything else (except salt) to a huge pot and simmer for an hour.  Make sure that they are very moist as they cook. Taste the beans, adjust seasoning (salt or any hot pepper if you like). If the beans are too soupy, remove from the pot with a slotted spoon—if you like the consistency, serve as is.     Serves 6-8

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