Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Long Overdue Bean Recipes

Hello Fairmeadow Farm followers!
I realize that some recipe-posting is long overdue, so here, for those of you who still have some dried beans hiding in a cupboard somewhere, are a few recipes to try while there is still snow outside and you feel like eating warm and comforting winter fare. A little mid-winter farm update will follow as well!
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BAKED BEANS (try using the soup beans in this recipe)
2 c dried beans
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic
1/3 c molasses
1 onion, diced
1 c stewed tomatoes
1 tsp dry mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Rinse the beans and cover with plenty of cold water in a saucepan. Let them soak overnight or over day.

Drain the beans, rinse them again and then cover them again with water (by at least one inch). Bring to a boil over med-high heat, throw in the bay leaf and one clove of garlic and simmer gently until tender over med-low heat (45 minutes to 1 hour).

When done (tender), drain, combine with remaining ingredients and mix well. Bake in a covered casserole dish for 3 hours in a slow oven. Uncover for the last hour.
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BLACK BEAN TORTILLA FILLING
This recipe has always met with rave reviews!

TO COOK THE BEANS:

Dried Black Turtle Beans
1 clove garlic
1-2 bay leaves
sea salt to taste

Pour beans onto a baking sheet and sort through them quickly, removing any bad or cracked beans and bits of chaff that your farmer might have missed! Put the beans in a colander and rinse them under cold water.

Soak beans in a pot for 8-12 hours (or overnight) in plenty of fresh water. Drain and rinse beans. Put into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with at least 1 inch of fresh water. Peel and smash 1 clove of garlic and add to the beans with 1 or 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer beans (covered) until tender, adding more water if necessary. Add salt to taste 3/4 way through cooking, to season the beans without making them tough. When beans are tender (usually takes at least 45 minutes to 1 hour, but sometimes more), remove bay leaves (but the garlic can stay), pour off the cooking liquid but reserve it (!), and set both the beans and liquid aside.

FOR THE FILLING:

Onion(s), chopped
Sweet Bell Pepper(s), any colour, chopped
Jalapeno Pepper(s), finely minced (seeds removed for a milder hot) AND/OR crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Zest and Juice of a Lime (or two)....you can substitute lemons if you'd like
Ground Cumin
Ground Coriander
A bit of chili powder (optional) if you'd like
Cooked Black Turtle Beans
Canned Tomatoes of some sort, diced if they need to be
Sea Salt
Chopped fresh cilantro

In a skillet, sweat the onion and bell peppers (covered) over med-low heat in vege oil and/or a bit of butter until soft. Turn up the heat a little and add minced jalapenos, grated lime zest, ground spices, salt, and more minced garlic if you'd like also (don’t forget you’ll add some when you add the beans). I use more cumin than coriander (maybe in a ratio of 4:1), and I use fairly liberal quantities. Stir to keep everything from sticking/burning, and saute for a minute or two until the spices are toasted and the liquid from the onions/peppers has mostly evaporated. Still over med to med-high heat, add the lime juice and stir to "deglaze" the pan. Remove from heat.Stir the onion mixture into the beans and add enough of the reserved bean cooking liquid and canned tomatoes with juice so that the beans are well moistened (should be a little soupy, but the beans shouldn't be completely free floating). Bring to a simmer over med or med-low heat, stirring as needed to keep the beans from burning (and you have to watch them because they are a bit prone to sticking).

After everything has cooked together for a few minutes, taste and adjust the seasonings as needed – add more spices/tomatoes/salt if it's bland in any of those areas, jalapenos if it's not spicy enough, lime juice if it doesn’t taste zippy enough, etc. Simmer gently, stirring somewhat frequently, until it's thickened to the consistency that you'd like. If it gets too thick, add some more tomato juice or bean cooking liquid. At the end of the cooking, add chopped fresh cilantro to taste. Enjoy!
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BLACK BEAN DIP
(from the “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home” cookbook)
2 c cooked (drained) black beans
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground coriander
Pinch of cayenne
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste

Mash or blend everything together (I would recommend using a food processor if you have one), until thoroughly combined. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve garnished with toasted chopped walnuts and/or minced Spanish olives if you feel so inclined.

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