I love beans. They are one of my all time favorite foods. Really they are kind of amazing. I mean they are dirt cheap, they are super healthy, they are low fat and they are so easy to cook. They also happen to pair beautifully with one of my other favorite foods—sausage.
Last night I made one of my favorite soups with garbanzo beans. It’s called Gypsy soup and it’s from the Moosewood cookbook
This soup is a great easy quick week night dinner. Recipe can be found here. You can use either canned or dried and cooked chickpeas. We use canned tomatoes. Last night we added left over cooked chicken. It’s also good with fresh fish added in toward the end.
Here are some of the other was I love to cook beans. On a cold Sunday afternoon:
Baked Black Beans and Chorizo
2 cups dried black beans, soaked 4 hours or overnight
2 links Spanish or Mexican chorizo, or linguica
One bell pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 fresh tomatoes or one can whole tomatoes
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
Tobasco or other hot sauce
Place soaked beans in oven safe pot or dutch oven. Add bell pepper, garlic, onion, tomatoes, spices, bell pepper and some salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover. Mix well. Slice sausage and lay over beans. Place tight fitting lid and cook in 350 degree oven for 3 hours or so until beans are tender. Check every hour and make sure there is still liquid. When beans are done stir sausage in and add some butter to taste about 2 TB. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and hot sauce as needed. Serve with rice or tortillas or bread.
Simple Pork and Beans
2 cups dried pinto beans
¼ pound salt pork
Salt and pepper
Place beans and coarsely chopped onion in pot. Cover with at least an inch of water. Boil 2 minutes. Place lid on pot and let soak for 1.5 hours or all day. Sometimes I do this step before work and then let them soak all day while I’m at work. Add some more water to cover. Add salt pork and bay leaf. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and simmer 1.5 hours or until tender. Add 2 Tb butter. Taste add salt and pepper as needed and hot sauce to taste. I like to serve this with corn bread or tortillas and cooked greens, although you can also serve the beans with rice or plain bread. You can leave out the salt pork too and they are still good especially as a side to enchiladas or with tacos.
Ham and Beans on toast
2 cups dried white beans
¼ pound left over ham or a meaty ham bone
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic
4 Tb butter
Salt and pepper
Good crusty bakery bread
Soak beans over night. Add beans to pot with lots a water, at least an inch over the beans. Add rosemary sprigs, garlic whole and in skin, onion finely chopped, ham chopped and bay leaf. Bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 1.5-2 hours until done but not mushy. You want the beans to be brothy but not too much so. If you think there is too much liquid ladle some out. Remove garlic cloves. Peel and mash up garlic add back to pot. Add butter. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve beans over toasted pieces of crusty bread along with a nice side salad for a lovely Sunday dinner.
And lastly my most favorite way to eat beans in the world:
Red Beans and Rice
2 cups dried red beans, soaked over night
Green bell pepper chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
One onion chopped
2 Tb fresh savory chopped (optional)
Ham hock (optional but it’s really good so I recommend it)
4 links andouille sausage or chorizo (make sure it’s spicy)
1 TB plus more to taste Hot sauce such as crystal or Tabasco
Cooked rice to serve
There are a few methods to employ here. Normally I through in everything except the sausage add a lot of water, bring to boil and simmer for 2 hours. Taste for salt, pepper and hot sauce. Then fry up my sausage and serve it on top. I usually leave out the ham hock just to make it a more economical meal. My Mom on the other hand cooks hers with the ham hock and it really is much better and more decedent that way. I think of these as my special occasion red beans and rice versus my own cheaper version. She also fries up her sliced sausage first then adds everything to the pot on top and cooks it. This is nice because you have the added flavor of slow cooking everything in the sausage fat. Regardless of how you make them red beans and rice are so good. Actually I’m pretty sure they are my favorite meal, especially since I can’t eat tacos, my former favorite meal.
Do you eat beans? What is your favorite way to eat them?