Beans That Go With Everything
This is among the most comforting and memory laden tastes of my childhood, and one among the long list of recipes that made my mother famous in our building back home in Caracas, Venezuela.
400g Dried Black Beans
1 Red Pepper
1 Medium Onion
8 Garlic Cloves
4 Tablespoons Avocado/Olive Oil
1 Handful Coriander (Cilantro)
1/2 Chili + (not essential, nor for the feint of heart)
Preparation Phase I – Mamma’s Beans
- In a 4 to 5 liter pot empty 400 grams of dried beans, then add cold water until it fills half the pot. Let it soak for 24 hours. If you have a pressure cooker the beans will take less than 45 minutes to be totally soft. I don’t have one, so read on if you’re as ow on technology as me! Make sure that after 8 hours you throw the water away and fill it up again.
- After 24 hours of soaking, throw out the water and wash the beans; put the beans back into the same pot and fill it up with water, because we’re not done yet!
- At this point, put the pot with the beans on the cooker and turn it on to a medium heat; we don’t want the water to be boiling the entire time but we do want it to simmer. It might take as much as 8 hours to soften the beans this way, but we’ll want to check the texture of the beans every 2 to 3 hours to see how soft they are; if you can break them in half by squeezing them in your fingers then they may be ready. Make sure that the pot doesn’t run out of water. If you see the water level go too low just add some more boiling water; I tend to use a kettle for this.
- Once the beans have achieved a suitably soft texture, such that you can squeeze them in half between your fingers with relative ease, you should have at least 4 or 5 cups of liquid remaining in your pot. Beans now totally soft, we season them.
Everything you’ve done above is going to be used below. So now that your beans are done, put them to one side and move on to Phase II, below.
Preparation Phase II – Mamma’s Flavor
- Now, in a blender throw in the entire chopped red pepper, entire chopped onion and the 8 garlic heads without skin. Add the finely chopped chili at this stage, too, if you’re in to that! Put in approximately ½ cup of water and blend away!
- Next, make sure that you have a heated pan ready with the 4 tbsp of oil in it. Once hot (half heat on this hob) add the blended vegetables. Let them cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until you no longer see bubbles of water rising to the surface, and the mix of vegetables has begun to resemble a paste.
- Add the ready mix into the pot of beans and mix them well. Add salt to taste and some coriander on top, then leave it to simmer for around 8 minutes on the stove-top.
Congratulations, now it’s time for you to eat it as a side with some meat or ladle it on top of some of your favorite rice! Or eat it with tacos! Or arepas!
Nutritional Info, Per Cup
Proteins, 15 grams
Fiber, 15 grams
Omega 6, 100 milligrams
Omega 3, 75 milligrams
Iron, 3 milligrams
Folate, 100 micro-grams
Visit my What2Cook recipes if you’re looking for a healthy dish to accompany your beans!