This recipe is another one of Executive Chef Brett Newman’s favorites. He says, “Beans are one of my all-time favorite side dishes. Growing up in the South, beans were always a huge part of my life, from stewed pintos, to braised limas, to black-eyed peas. I mostly remember my mother’s spicy black-eyed peas, which were served weekly in my house. Sometimes that would be the main dish, with cornbread crumbled on top. Delicious stuff!”
“I wanted to re-create that dish, but with black beans because I love them. I make something similar at home almost weekly. Sometimes, I puree them and have spicy black bean dip with tortilla chips. It makes for a healthy and filling snack, and it stays good in the fridge all week.”
Smoky Latin Black Beans
1 lb dried black beans
1 small white onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 dried morita peppers (or substitute chipotle peppers)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
5 to 6 cups water or veggie/chicken stock, enough to cover beans
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
kosher or sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1. Soak ’em
The day before you plan to cook the beans, place them in a very large bowl and add enough water to cover by at least four inches. The beans will absorb some of the liquid, so be sure to add enough. You can’t add too much water here, but you can add too little. Cover and let sit overnight.
2. Flavor ’em
Drain beans from the soaking liquid and give them a quick rinse. Add beans to a large pot and cover with water or stock. The beans will absorb even more liquid this time, so be sure to add enough. With your liquid, add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, morita peppers, and cumin.
3. Let ’em simmer
Bring your pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour. Start checking doneness around 45 minutes, and let them keep cooking until they are completely tender and liquid is starchy, up to two hours. Add more water or stock as necessary while the beans are cooking to ensure they stay covered in liquid.
4. Season ’em
Once beans are tender, season with lime juice and fresh cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4-6 servings.