Tag Archives: black beans

Beer-Glazed Black Beans with Chorizo and Orange

This recipe is the neglected guy friend of the female lead in a romantic comedy. You know the one. The best buddy who secretly pines for the girl while supporting her pursuit of another man who is clearly wrong for her. Then suddenly, after the other man has broken her heart, she sees the best friend in a new light (and probably in a rainstorm). The love of her life was there all along, just waiting patiently by her side for her to figure it out.

So, Beer-Glazed Black Beans, forgive me for taking so long to pay attention to you.  I have flipped past you time after time in search of more exciting recipes – maybe something indulgent with cheese and pasta , or something exotic with coconut milk and fish sauce.  Sometimes maybe I entertained the idea, giving you a glimmer of hope as I paused on your page for a moment until my eyes landed on “chorizo” and I moved on.  Then we lost touch completely, as I loaned my copy of The Food Matters Cookbook to a friend for several months. But then I got you back, and this time, something was different.  Maybe it was my need to spend a Saturday night doing nothing but cooking for myself.  Maybe it was my need to redeem myself for last night’s mac and cheese binge by making a dinner full of fiber and protein. Suddenly, “beer-glazed” didn’t seem weird; it seemed intriguing.  I realized you had citrus and cilantro- a couple of my favorite things. How did I not notice that before? And you yield enough food for a couple dinners this week while stashing the rest away in the freezer for another time.  I have a feeling you’re gonna be in heavy rotation for a while.

I was about to put this in the category of “Vegetarian Dishes That My Husband Actually Likes” but then I realized the chorizo makes this most certainly not vegetarian. (That being said, I think you could come up with a decent veggie-friendly version.)  But that’s what makes this a classic Mark Bittman recipe: the meat adds flavor and depth, but the bulk of the meal is plant-based.

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Bittman notes that you should use a beer that you like, because the flavor comes through.  I actually used a beer that I wasn’t crazy about drinking: Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale.   It was a little sweet for me, but I figured that the spices would blend well with the chili powder and beans.  Since it was a sweet beer, I cut back the amount of honey from the original recipe. The only dilemma is that I’m not sure what beer I will use next time, since this was a limited release!

Beer-Glazed Black Beans with Chorizo and Orange

(from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook)

Makes 4 generous servings, and can be frozen and reheated

1 orange

8 ounces Spanish chorizo, thinly sliced (I used pre-crumbled chorizo)

1 red onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

One 12-ounce bottle beer

3 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon honey (or cut back to 1 teaspoon if using a sweeter beer)

Salt and black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (or more, if you’re a cilantro fan like I am)

Halve the orange and seed it if necessary. Peel one half, divide the segments and save the rind; squeeze the juice from the other half.

Put the chorizo in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring and turning to brown the slices, for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the orange rind and juice, beer, beans, chili powder, honey, and salt and pepper.

Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed. Remove orange rind before serving, and garnish with orange slices and cilantro.

Serve hot over brown rice.  Keeps in the fridge for three days, or in the freezers for several months.blackbeans

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Last Night’s Dinner: Tacos and Tequila

Man, I love Spring Break.  Sure, I still have readings to do and data to work with and a bridal shower for a very special lady to plan, but it’s a whole week of not having to drive 40 minutes to campus, go to class, or sit in meetings.  And consequently, I’ve been able to make dinners and tell you about them!  These are still quick, easy recipes that are doable for busy weeknights, but I feel relaxed enough to think ahead and take pictures while I’m cooking, and write about them afterwards.

So, Bon Appetit claims that this recipe takes 25 minutes, but I bet that if you use pre-shredded coleslaw mix, or if you have one person making the beans and tacos, and another making the slaw, you could have this whole thing together in 15 minutes.  Of course, if you’re making rice or some sort of grain to accompany the tacos, that will take a little longer.  But my point is that this has the potential for being the fastest dinner you’ve ever made without using a microwave.

I followed the recipe exactly, so I’m not going to copy it.  I’ll just give you a link: Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw and share some notes.

First, serving size/number of tacos… The recipe states that it makes four servings, but it really means four tacos.  I don’t know anyone who eats just one taco, so I think this recipe is really good for two or three people, unless you’re supplementing the meal with some other dishes.  Also, if you use taco-size corn tortillas (like 6-inch), the bean filling can really be stretched among at least six, if not seven or eight tortillas, rather than four.  Since you have to flip the folded tortillas in the skillet after filling them with beans, you don’t want them over-stuffed.

And speaking of tortillas… Be sure to use corn tortillas.  I usually prefer flour tortillas, but they just won’t get crisp the way corn tortillas will.

Cooking strategy… Unless you have an industrial kitchen with an industrial-size skillet you probably won’t be able to cook all the tacos at once.  There are a couple ways to handle this.  You could just wait until they’re all finished and then have a plate of half hot tacos and half cold tacos.  Or you can channel my dad’s Sunday morning pancake-making approach where he would throw hot pancakes on our plates while he continued to cook them, and then we’d all be finished by the time he sat down to eat.  But why not just keep them warm by sticking a paper towel-lined plate in the oven and transfer finished tacos to the plate while you cook the rest?  And if you happen to have a spare tortilla warmer hanging around, say, from a Mexican-themed wedding buffet, that works pretty well, too.

Accompaniments… Cabbage, cilantro, and lime slaw?  Wonderful.  Topped with feta cheese and hot sauce?  Even better.  But I don’t think anyone will complain if you offer sliced avocado and jalapenos as well.

Rice is nice, but farro is awesome  Do you remember me mentioning a new favorite blog, Attempts in Domesticity?  She recently presented a compelling argument for Why I Think Farro is the Shit and I must admit she convinced me.  I’ve wanted to try it for a while, but she inspired me to finally follow through.  My plan was to do something a bit more elaborate with it, but since I needed something to take up some space on my plate (so I wouldn’t fill it with four tacos), I decided this was as good a time as any to try it.  So, I just cooked it plain, and threw in a little lime juice and cilantro, and oh, I love it.  Since it’s plumper and chewier than rice, it reminds me a little bit of Israeli couscous, which I love, but far more nutritious.  I’m converted.

Finally, another nice thing about Spring Break?  I don’t have to worry about doing school work after dinner, so there is no reason not to enjoy some tequila with dinner.  Well, technically, we had Scorpion Mezcal.  And yes, it has a scorpion in the bottle.  It also comes with a tiny sombrero.  Unfortunately it’s too tiny for a real cat.

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