Spicy Saucy Black Beans

I know I promised the Spicy Saucy Black Bean recipe would be up in the wee hours last night.  I did not get to it. When The Evil Genius got back to our lair we talked, laughed, tucked kids in, and ate our way through an indecent quantity of homemade mint ice cream with deadly chocolate syrup.  And the black beans went and slipped my mind.  But here I am, beans in hand, and I think you’ll find they were worth the wait.

This black bean recipe is the third installment (see one and two) of our bean series encouraging you to eat more of the musical fruit with every meal.  Outside of ‘refried beans’, black beans are probably the most picky-eater friendly. They cook quickly since they are so small and they are wonderful in soups, dips, stews, and on their own.  As with most beans, they freeze well for about a month or two when packaged properly.  You can even prepare this entire dish and freeze it in individual serving portions.  Reheat each portion in the microwave or in a covered saucepan over low heat with a tablespoon or two full of water.  It’s fantastic for you and it’s delicious.  That’s fast food that makes your heart swell with happiness, not clogged arteries.  And it’s vegetarian friendly for the friendly vegetarians in your life.  Hey!  Whaddya know?  I can cook something without bacon fat.  (But I’d be lyin’ if I said I never make this with bacon fat in place of the olive oil.  I am fallible…)

I make it using beans that have been rehydrated and cooked because, well, they taste better and they’re better for you. You can certainly use canned black beans in this recipe, but you will definitely want to cut way back on the salt.  Canned beans come pre-salted, so just adjust salt to taste at the end of the cooking time.

Normally, I’d make these with petite diced tomatoes, but the vehicles are both out of commission.  And as I mentioned before, Hambone, while huge, is not big enough to saddle up and ride into town.  Time to improvise.  Tomato paste mixed with water stands in beautifully here.  If you want to prepare the beans with diced tomatoes, go for it… but don’t make a special trip to the store just for the maters if you have tomato paste in the pantry.

Please make this.  I am not above begging.  Once you’ve tried it you’ll find yourself wondering how something so simple can be so delicious and packed with flavor.  You’ll be serving this over rice by itself, with fried chicken, on tacos, in burritos, on nachos, and on a spoon in the middle of the night.  Beans.  What can’t they do?

I just lurve these beans.

I just lurve these beans.

For a printer-friendly, photo-free version of this recipe, click here!

Spicy Saucy Black Beans

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 (14-18 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes ~or~ 6 ounces tomato paste whisked together with 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced, fresh garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • optional, fresh cilantro for garnish

Dice your onion.

Take the tip of the onion off so it will stand still on your cutting board.

Take the tip of the onion off so it will stand still on your cutting board.

Love that flat spot now, no? Slice through the center of the root down through the onion.

Love that flat spot now, no? Slice through the center of the root down through the onion.

Peel away the outside layer leaving the rest of the onion intact.

Peel away the outside layer leaving the rest of the onion intact.

Slice from within 1/4" of the root to the tip from one side of the onion to the other.  Keeping the root end intact helps make the cuts to come easier...

Slice from within 1/4" of the root to the tip from one side of the onion to the other. Keeping the root end intact helps make the cuts to come easier...

Turn the onion 90 degrees and slice down across the slices you've already made for the perfect dice.  And for the love of all that's holy don't throw away that root end of the onion.  Keep it in a bag devoted to the purpose in your freezer.  That has a ton of flavor.  Toss it in when you're cooking dried beans and you'll never go back.

Turn the onion 90 degrees and slice down across the slices you've already made for the perfect dice. And for the love of all that's holy don't throw away that root end of the onion. Keep it in a bag devoted to the purpose in your freezer. That has a ton of flavor. Toss it in when you're cooking dried beans and you'll never go back.

Drizzle the olive oil into a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.

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Warm the oil over medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, add the onions and sprinkle with the salt and crushed red pepper flakes.

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Stir to distribute the salt evenly and cook gently.

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If onions begin to brown lower heat and continue cooking until the onions are mostly translucent and soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients -except the cilantro, if using- and stir well.

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Like I said... You can use the tomato paste mixed with water OR the can of diced tomatoes.  Both delicious, if different, in the final analysis.

Like I said... You can use the tomato paste mixed with water OR the can of diced tomatoes. Both delicious, if different, in the final analysis.

Gaaaaaahlic.  Mmmm.

Gaaaaaahlic. Mmmm.

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You can stop the cooking process as soon as it's the thickness you desire.  I like mine mighty thick... so I bubbled it away for another few minutes after this picture.

You can stop the cooking process as soon as it's the thickness you desire. I like mine mighty thick... so I bubbled it away for another few minutes after this picture.

Cook the beans over medium heat until bubbly and thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Serve the beans, garnished with cilantro if desired, hot, warm, or cold.

Spicy Saucy Black Beans.  Who doesn't love saucy beans?

Spicy Saucy Black Beans. Who doesn't love saucy beans?

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It is finally Spring, both officially and otherwise. I sat on my porch with my bowl of beans and my feet up and ate the whole blasted thing. I think I may regret that later.

Comments

  1. Rebecca, you are awesome. I just made dry beans in my crockpot for the first time ever. They turned out great and now they are in my soup pot making a batch of my prize-winning chili, retro-style. Thanks for your great hints in the bean basic last time, and the recipe suggestion here. I made the whole bag of beans at once, so I’m going to try your saucy recipe next. So glad to have found your site in my Google search. (My four-year-old son liked picking out the bad beans, too.)

  2. Ellie- Shucks. Thank you! The bad bean picking is fun. I find myself half hoping that there are a bunch of bad ones in the bunch. Then the grown-up in me takes over and I’m glad that there are only a few in a pound. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Can I (gasp) use canned beans to make these?

  4. These were really good! Even better reheated the second day. I was generous with the spices and added a small splash of orange juice… just what I was craving, thanks!

  5. Sounds lovely! I just came back from mexico last month and find myself addicted to these incredible enchilada recipes now!! Must go back next year sometime, I think, and this time head off the beaten path a little. Looking to reading more!

  6. C4bl3Fl4m3 says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. Have you EVER had a recipe go wrong? Everything I cook that you put up is always fantastic.

    I did it a little differently, though. I forgot to cook the onions first, so they went in with the beans and tomato paste and water. I did the cumin, salt, and pepper flakes by eye… a TON of cumin, ’cause I love it, a bit a salt, and perhaps a few too many pepper flakes (used a standard teaspoon [not a measuring one] for that, and put in a whole one). Also, I didn’t have any fresh garlic so I used garlic powder, which worked ok. And I put in some chopped cilantro into the sauce (because I adore cilantro) and put in a bit of cheese (some leftover havarti). Oh, and did I mention that the black beans I used were your recipe for crock pot reconstitution? :-)

    It’s RIDICULOUSLY good, especially after sitting for half an hour to make the spices come out. Thank you! This was just the protein fix I needed on this Meatfree Monday!

  7. P to the D says:

    Dinner tonight.

  8. These.taste.awesome. I kept grabbing new spoons as I sampled them while cooking and before I knew it, I’d dirtied 4 spoons. Delish and your crockpot method of cooking beans is now my go to. Thank you!

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