Sunday, October 19, 2008

Black Beans with Chipotle Adobo Sauce

The weather in Indiana has been getting cool, meaning that today was looking like a good day for soup. This afternoon, Iv and I stopped at Saraga International Grocery, where they were offering a mountain of dry black beans for $0.59/lb, so we filled up a bag, and I settled on the Black Beans with Chipotle Adobo Sauce (page 122) for a late lunch.

I started out pressure-cooking the beans, then set them on the stove over a simmer with onion and bay leaf for a while. Turns out, this is a pretty aromatic dish while it's cooking, so the smell was wafting out of the kitchen before long.

As the beans cooked, I started the sauce, which involves a pretty simple combination of ingredients -- just onion, garlic, and canned chipotles. Saute, puree, and done. The recipe says to mince the chipotles, but since the sauce gets whirled through the blender anyway, I just cut them into a few pieces. The San Marcos brand of chipotles leaves a bit to be desired on the spelling front.

The dish took longer than I expected, mainly due to having to wait for the pressure cooker to depressurize before I could get to the cooked beans, so by the time I was assembling this, we were getting out of late lunch territory and into early-bird special.

Terry and Isa suggest that you serve the beans over rice, with sauce drizzled over them. I tried this, but the sauce is more of a thick puree rather than anything particularly drizzleable, so I sort of mounded it on the beans and tried to fancify it with a lime slice.

The end result? This was really good. The sauce has an almost creamy texture, which binds the rice and beans together nicely. It's pretty spicy, though, so beware. Iv has a cold, and it cleared up his sinuses right away, but then he headed for the kitchen and came back with a box of crackers to try to ease the fire on his tongue. I was feeling a little scorched as well, but I think I've got a slightly higher heat tolerance. In any case, be warned, and if you're timid on spices, just go easy on mixing the sauce into the beans. Still, for both of us, it turned out to be compulsively eatable, despite the sweat forming on our brows.

The recipe says you can skip the sauce if you want to and just serve the beans as they are. This is incorrect, unless you are a flavor-hater -- despite smelling good, the beans on their own are pretty bland. If you're looking for a simple, non-spicy, black bean recipe, use Bittman's black beans with cumin instead.

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