Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Black beans

When Abby and I were visiting Costa Rica, I got hooked on their traditional breakfast: gallo pinto with eggs and Salsa Lizano, a tangy green sauce that Costa Ricans put on just about everything. Gallo pinto is really just beans and rice with a few other random things mixed in. Its a great way to get rid of bell peppers, carrots, and onions that may be sitting around the fridge. You can make up a big batch of it and just scoop out a bit and reheat it while you are cooking an egg to make a nice filling breakfast. It's really good served with warm corn tortillas, and if you can get your hands on some Salsa Lizano, use this as well.

Yesterday, I planned on making a batch of gallo pinto, but when I tasted the beans, they were so good that I decided not to mix them with rice. For breakfast, I just had black beans with a poached egg. Here's the recipe:

2 large cans black beans
½ onion (red of Vidalia), fine dice
1 green or red bell pepper, fine dice
1 carrot, fine dice
1-2 jalapeno, fine dice
5 cloves garlic, mince
3-4 Tbsp chopped parsley (substituting cilantro if available)
0.5 lb chorizo
4 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
¾ can of water
olive oil

Add enough oil to the bottom of a large pot. Cook the onion, pepper, jalapeno, carrot, garlic, and parsley over med-low to low heat for about 10 min. Add a pinch of salt to help everything cook down.

Add chorizo and cook over med-low heat for another 10 minutes.

Add the beans. Do not rinse or drain. Add water, vinegar, and bay leaves. Let simmer on med-low heat for 1 hour so the liquid reduces.

Serve over rice or as is. You can reduce the liquid more or less depending on whether you want a soup.

If you are vegetarian, leave out the chorizo, but add some paparika. Even better, you might be able to find veggie chorizo at the grocery store. I think Smart Food or one of those companies makes this.

This is great as a soup topped with caramelized onions and sour cream. Since I made up such a large batch, I did this for dinner (I didn't have any sour cream though). To caramelize onions, just slice them up and cook over low heat with a bit of oil or butter for a long long time (~45 min). They cook down quite a bit.
Here, I used a red onion because that was all that I had in the pantry, but I really think a Vidalia or some other sweet white onion is better for caramelizing.

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