September 12, 2009

Spicy Black Beans with Soyrizo and Chipotle Cream

When I was growing up, my mom always used to make black beans from scratch. She'd let the dry beans soak over night and then cook them for what seemed to me like all of the next day. Her version always included sauteed onions and garlic and lots and lots of cumin. They were extremely flavorful and I liked them a lot. But, when I went to make black beans as an adult, I thought, "Why spend two days making black beans when I can just open a can of them?" Cans of black beans are inexpensive and easy to doctor up. But, they are not the same as homemade, as canned-and-processed anything rarely is.

I finally decided I should try to make my own from scratch, so I bought some dried black turtle beans from the bulk bin at the supermarket. They languished in my cupboard for months on end. Then I found a black bean recipe in Bon Appetit that really intrigued me. It had me at spicy, chorizo* and chipotle cream.

And it is as good as it sounds.

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black beans
  • 2 peeled onions; 1 halved, 1 chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-7 ounces (or more to taste) Soyrizo
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced, seeded jalapeno chile
  • 1/2 (or more to taste) ground cumin
  1. Place beans in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by two inches. Let beans soak overnight.
  2. Drain beans. Return to saucepan. Add onion halves, bay leaf and oregano. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally--1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on age of beans.
  3. Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Discard onion halves and bay leaf.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy, large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add soyrizo, breaking it up with a soon, and cook until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer soyrizo to a small bowl.
  5. Add chopped onion to drippings in skillet (adding olive oil as necessary) and cook until soft and golden grown--about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and cumin. Stir 1 minute.
  6. Add beans, 3/4 cup (or more as needed) cooking liquid and soyrizo to onion mixture. Stir to distribute evenly. Simmer over medium-low heat until heated and flavors are blended--3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Chipotle Cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce**
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  1. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt.
* I like the taste of Mexican chorizo, but not the fact that it's made of ground up cow salivary glands (really!) and who knows what else. Soyrizo (available at Trader Joe's) is an excellent substitute, very delicious and more healthful. (Once opened, use the package within a day or two, or it will dry out.) This recipe (without the sour cream) will also be vegan with this substitution.
** I bought a small can of chipotle chiles awhile ago--once I opened the can, I transferred the chiles and their sauce to a resealable container that I stash in the back of my fridge. Whenever I need chipotle flavoring (usually recipes only call for small amounts), I have it readily available.

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