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.
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
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.