I felt like I was on Chopped when I put this “recipe” for spicy black beans together. Goat cheese stuffed baked chiles rellenos had just gone in the oven, I still needed to heat up the tomato sauce to go with them, and I had to set up a quick photo shoot for when the chiles were done. Usually when serving black beans as a side dish, I go to the trouble of preparing my favorite recipe from Bon Appetit, which includes lots of chopping and simmering. Lacking the time and ingredients for the complete recipe, I recalled Molly’s cousin’s creamy black bean recipe that came across my screen a while ago: basically, black beans and butter. So much butter.
What I liked about the idea was the richness of added fat plus pouring in the whole can of beans–liquid included–to infuse extra bean flavor. I grabbed a wrapped up quarter yellow onion I had left in the fridge and chopped it up. Instead of tossing everything into the pot, which I don’t object to at all, I used my few spare minutes to sear diced onion in sizzling, aromatic butter to take the whole thing up a notch. From there it’s gravy: dump in black beans and liquid, simmer for as much time as you have, then douse liberally with hot sauce. I like the simple heat of Frank’s Red Hot, but you could change up the profile with sriracha, harissa, or any other spicy condiment you desire, depending on what you plan to serve alongside the beans. The main dish isn’t all that important, though, because the beans will undoubtedly steal the show.
If you need some ideas for your entrée or a serving method, try these:
- Use them in a rice bowl (I’d go the Chipotle burrito bowl copycat route)
- Alongside creamy chicken enchiladas (or make the enchiladas all veg, as I have lately)
- See Molly’s suggestions on eating them for breakfast
- In huevos rancheros (my recipe in this free eCookbook)
- Over some cheesy grits
In case you missed it on NCK’s facebook page, Gena of the popular vegan blog Choosing Raw, gave a shoutout to my curried lentil salad recipe. Being entirely plant-based, she suggests making it with a vegan mayo, which is exactly what I did last week. Super delicious, and the most discerning non-vegans will not know the difference from egg-based mayo. Thanks Gena!
Coincidentally, I discovered Gena’s link as I was about to dig in to some duck fat poutine on our second-to-last day in Portland, Maine. Let’s just say I was not exactly plant-based over the weekend. Do I feel great about it? No. I won’t make excuses; I’ll just say I took advantage of my balanced approach to eat seafood that is so difficult to avoid in this waterfront town. While noshing on the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever tasted, at Eventide this morning, it occurred to me that it isn’t the right thing for every restaurant to have a vegetarian option. Okay, maybe one, but if the chef is going for critical acclaim by perfectly executing seafood twists on classic brunch favorites, it could be difficult to garner attention and interest with a half-vegetarian menu. The draw of the restaurant is that nearly every dish is a creative, powerhouse presentation of seafood that would be difficult and expensive to recreate at home.
I’m sure to be on a much more veggie-centric meal plan this week, getting my body back to the fuel it prefers. Since I wasn’t home for CSA pickup on Friday, I’m skipping my weekly seasonal produce guide post this week. I’ll resume next Monday with plenty of seasonal recipe ideas to keep dinner simple and refreshing as summer heats up.
- 2 T butter
- ½ small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cans black beans, with liquid
- Hot sauce (such as Frank's)
- Kosher or sea salt (optional; if using unsalted beans)
- Melt butter over medium, then add onion. Increase heat to medium and cook onions, stirring, until well browned. They're best when nearly burnt--very dark brown and crispy.
- Add black beans and adjust heat as needed to maintain a simmer. Stir occasionally 5 to 15 minutes to reduce slightly, concentrating the flavors. Smash some of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon as they cook, if you like. The smashed beans will make for thicker liquid. Add as much hot sauce as you like, tasting as you go. Simmer another minute, then season with salt to taste if using unsalted canned beans.
Recipe is gluten free and vegetarian. To make it vegan, use vegan spread or vegetable oil instead of butter, and make sure all packaged ingredients are vegan.
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