Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black Beans

Oh, my. Life is busy. But, more importantly, my camera broke. So I don't have any beautiful pictures to post. But I feel guilty for neglecting the blog . . . so I'm posting picture-less.

Last summer I decided that it was time to add more beans to our diet . . . because groceries just keep getting more and more expensive, darn it! And my kids are just going to keep growing, which will make the grocery bill grow, too, and so I informed my children (on the way home from our family reunion) that we would be eating beans every evening from then on. My 10 year old was rather leery of the whole plan (everyone else just kind of ignored me), but I've trained them to believe that complaining about my cooking makes me (and, by extension, them) unhappy, so all I got was a semi-reluctant "Okay." After the first bite, though, she told me: "I don't think I'm going to mind eating beans every night!"

Most of the credit for this recipe goes to my neighbor, but I did change some of the spices to suit my own tastes. Feel free to re-adjust them to suit your own likes and dislikes!

Black Beans

4 c. black beans
lots of water
onion powder
chili powder
5 or 6 quart crock pot *

Rinse the beans and pick out any rocks or things that may have escaped the manufacturer's sorting process. (I've never yet found a rock in my beans, but Wal-Mart felt impelled to warn me about the possibility of rocks, and so I'm passing the warning on!) Place the beans in the crock pot, then fill it up to the top with hot water - about 16 - 20 cups. Add about a teaspoon of salt, put the lid on, and turn it on Low. Let it go all night long. (LOTS of hard work, I know, but it's worth it!)

The next morning, drain and rinse the beans. (DON'T put cold water in your hot crock, though, as it will probably break, and then where will you be? Use hot water instead.) Return the beans to the crock pot, and add enough water to just cover the beans. Sprinkle spices on top (I use about 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. onion powder, 2 - 3 tsp. chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. cumin), then turn it on high. Let it go all day long. (You can stir it occasionally if you are home, but don't worry about it if you're not.)

Serve with corn tortillas and rice. Also yummy in black bean salsa, chef's salad, and chili (recipes forthcoming).

By the way, you may not want to start off with eating them every single night. Beans can cause some . . . hmmmmm . . . intestinal distress (if you aren't used to eating them). Rinsing the beans in the morning helps alleviate some of that, but it won't stop all of it.

* My mother has a crock pot that apparently thinks it's true calling in life was to be a real oven. If your crock pot cooks as quickly as hers does, adjust your cooking times . . . perhaps cutting them in half.

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