Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: beans and legumes (page 1 of 3)

CURRIED BLACK BEANS

This is a recipe that came out of necessity. In Nuyorican culture we love beans. For example, rice and beans, to us, is manna from heaven. It is an integral part of our diet. Of course, we’ve refined and modified our bean intake so that we have all sort of bean dishes. And, usually, I cook beans from scratch. That’s the way my mom did, and it is family dogma. However, looking though my cupboard, we came across a couple cans of black beans. I do not recall when these were purchased  or by whom. And they were just short of the expiration date. I hate throwing away items that can still be utilized. So, I figured, okay, this one time I’ll conjure up a good bean dish that will make use of the canned stuff. That’s when I thought of Curried Beans. In my experience, most curried bean dishes, especially in Indian or Southeastern Asian cuisine involved chick peas. What we call garbanzo beans. But would the curry combo work with back beans. I considered, why not? And gave it a try. Let me say it was an experiment that rendered majestic results. I’ve come to the conclusion that almost any bean category could be used in a curried context. It may not work with green beans, which is more of a vegetable category, but then, as stated numerous times before, you’re only limited by your imagination.

This is an easy and quick dish to prepare. Following on the Asian concept, we decided to serve it with rice noodles. Just like regular rice and beans, it’s a marriage made in heaven. Note that if you don’t have rice stick noodles around, you can always substitute vermicelli pasta. So, enjoy these suckers. You won’t be disappointed.

CURRIED BLACK BEANS

Ingredients:

2  (15oz.) cans black beans
½ cup minced onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet or saucepan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until somewhat soft and translucent.
  2.  Add curry powder, flour and chicken broth. Mix well. Slowly mix in broth. Stir until slightly thickened. Add black beans. Stir and cook until beans are heated though.  Serve over rice noodles.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

SOPA DE AJO Y HABICHUELAS

Back on the block, in my family, this was one of our popular meals, especially when times were lean. Essentially it was just a soup of garlic and beans but, through time, we added other ingredients to enhance our palette. That’s the beauty of this dish. You can doctor it anyway you want depending upon what’s on hand. In terms of the beans, we always liked white beans, although it also works with garbanzo beans (chick peas).  We never did it with red, black or pinto beans, although you’re welcomed to try and let me know how it works out.

In our version, apart from the garlic, we add parsley, marjoram, salt and pepper, and sazón accent (you can substitute Goya sazón if desired). You can also use a teaspoon of turmeric in place of the sazôn. Your choice.  Note that in our culture, we soak the beans overnight and then cook the following day. If you’re press for time you can do the quick soaking method:  drain beans, place in a heavy pot or Dutch oven with 2 quarts (8 cups) water and bring to a boil. Cover and boil over moderate-low heat and cook until beans are almost ender. Then follow recipe as given. Also note that the recipe calls for water or chicken broth.  To us unsophisticates, adding 2 chicken bouillon cubes to the water counts as chicken broth—unless you have ready made chicken broth on hand.

With a good crusty loaf of bread you have a perfect inexpensive or (as my father use to say) beggar’s banquet. And you can make the soup as thick as you want adding less water (about 4 cups) and turn it into a stew.

SOPA DE AHJO Y HABICHUELAS
(Garlic-Bean Soup)

Ingredients:

1 pound dry white beans
2 quart water or chicken broth (or less if you want to make it into a stew)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chopped marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
1 large potato cut into chunks (wash, scrub but do not peel)
1 packet sazón accent
Salt and ground black pepper to atste

Instructions:

  1. Soak beans overnight in a pot with water to cover. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Place in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven with 2 quarts water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and boil over moderate-low heat until beans are tender, about 1 hour.
  2.  Heat olive oil in a skillet or frying pan and sauté  garlic, parsley and marjoram for 3 minutes. Add to beans along with the potato chunks and sazôn. Stir to combine.
  3.  Add  salt and pepper and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
    Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

RERFIED BEANS WITH SAUSAGE (Nuyorican Style)

I’ve always had a palate for Mexican refried beans. Mainly because it’s not something common to Puerto Rican cuisine. Thus the thought of refried beans has always intrigued me. Which set me to thinking? What if I made my own version  of it? A Nuyorican version? And why not?  So, here is my version of refried beans with sausages. That’s right. I’ve added sausage to it. Basically, spicy Spanish chorizo sausage which is a stable in  our cooking. For the recipe given, you can use any sausage you prefer, even turkey or chicken . I’m not a stickler to any rules here. Use what you like. The idea is to prepare something good and Nutritious.

Another innovation is that we used white beans for the dish. Mexican refried beans usually consist of pinto beans or black beans. I just figured most beans varieties could be refried. So I tried the white beans and they came out great.

In my culture we usually serve beans with rice. My Mexican brethren also serve refried beans with rice. But they also enjoy it with chips or in a burrito. Following that line of thought, this dish is so good that we serve it by itself with crusty bread. And we do not add chili powder like in some recipes. Remember, this is the Nuyorican version (and we don’t use chili powder) but, if you want, go right ahead and put some in while the beans are simmering. Your choice.

Also, you may like wine with dinner; but refried beans is the type of dish that goes great with beer.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup white beans
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup grated cheese of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Place Beans in a large pot (preferably cast iron) with water to cover with water by 2 inches. Cover and let soak overnight.
  2. Next day, drain beans, put them back in pot with fresh water to cover by 2 inches. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper and cumin. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are softened.
  3. Use a colander to transfer the liquid from the beans, but reserve the liquid. Heat oil in the same pot (or a large skillet), add the grated cheese. Mix to combine. Add ¼ cup reserved water from the broth and gently smash the beans with a potato masher or fork until you get the right texture. The beans should have the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. Add more bean broth liquid if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed by adding more salt or pepper.

While beans are cooking, prepare sausage

Ingredients:

 2 chorizo sausages, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

 Instructions:

1.Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté sausage until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
2.Add onion and oregano and stir fry for 5 minutes more, turning frequently.
3.Add to fried beans. Stir to mix, and serve immediately.
Yield: 4-6 servings

GREEK STYLE BEANS AND RICE

Rice and beans, whether it’s Arroz con Habicuelas in Puerto Rican cuisine or Arroz con Frijoles in Mexican cooking, is a common staple. Can’t go wrong with it: rice has the carbohydrates and beans have the protein. An inexpensive,  convenient and healthy meal. Thus I’m always on the lookout for something similar in other cultures. That’s when I came across Greek Style Beans combined with Greek rice, or pilafia. In this case, rice pilaf with onion (pilafi me kremmithakia).

Note that in the recipe given, I use dry white beans, which have to be soaked in water overnight. You can cut corners (and cheat) by using canned white beans but, my friends, it just won’t taste the same.   Go the extra mile and soak the suckers then cook. You won’t regret it.  Also, I topped everything with Greek Kalamata olives. This is optional, but it does enhance the dish.

GREEL STYLE BEANS

Ingredients:

2 cups small white beans
¼ cup olive oil
2 scallions, chopped
¼ teaspoon coriander powder or dried oregano
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Soak beans overnight and drain. Cover with fresh water by at least 2 inches. Bring to boil, lower heat and cook, covered, over moderate-low heat until beans are tender but not mushy (about 1 hour).
  2.  Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes longer. Serve with Rice Pilaf with Onion (see recipe below).
    Yield: 4 servings.

RICE PILAF WITH ONION

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1¼ cup long-grain rice
2 cups chicken broth or 2 cups hot water  and 2 teaspoons chicken broth granules
½ cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup kalamata olives, halved (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Wash rice at least 3 times in cold water and drain to rid it of starch. What in Pennsylvania Dutch country is know as “washing in several waters.”
  2.  Heat oil in a medium-sized pot or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the rice and cook until golden in color, stirring occasionally.
  3.  Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth to boiling. Add the chicken broth to the rice, plus the onion and garlic. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 30 minutes). Fluff the rice with a fork, served with the beans and topped with the kalamata olives.

TOFU WITH BEANS

I like tofu and I like beans. So, in the following recipe, I’ve combined the two. Most of us are familiar with pasts fazool,  or pasta fagioli, which combines beans and pasta, usually small shells, ditalini or even orzo. I guess this would be tofu fazool or tofu fagioli. In my old neighborhood we’d probably call it Tofu con Habichuelas. Whatever. It’s simple to make and utterly delicious.

I don’t usually use canned beans. The flavor just does not compare to beans conjured up from scratch. I acknowledge that it’s easy just to open the can and use. However, if you’re a purist like me, dried beans (in this case, black beans) are best. But you can use whatever bean type preferred.

For dried beans, here’s the drill: Place 2 cups beans in a colander, and rinse under cold running water; place in a kettle or pot  with water to cover by at least 2 inches (do not use hot water); let it soak in the fridge, ideally, overnight; put in a heavy pot or kettle with water to cover, again  by about 1 inch, bring to boil; cover and cook over moderate-low heat until beans are tender (about 1 hour). Note that, during cooking, if water is absorbed or water level runs low, you can add more water, Then cook as you would in the recipe given. Again, if you want to use canned beans, more power to you.

The other thing,  when cooking tofu is it should be pressed prior to cooking. This a technique used to remove moisture and make it easier to cook Normally, even with extra firm tofu, if it is too wet it can break up during cooking. Also, unpressed tofu will not absorb flavor as well, and will not have a good texture. To press: Wrap tofu in a few layers of paper towels; place a cast iron or similarly heavy pan on top, balancing it so that it stays level; wait about 30 minutes and you’ll get at least ¼ cup to ½ cup excess liquid that you’ll discard; remove weighted object; unwrap tofu and cook as instructed.

This time around, I serve this dish with tostones (fried green plantains); but you can serve it with rice or other grain (like quinoa or couscous).

Ingredients:

Cooked beans, as instructed above, or 2 (15.5) oz. cans black beans
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt  and ground black pepper to taste
1 (14 oz.) package extra firm tofu, pressed

Instructions:

  1. Place beans in  a heavy-duty pot or large skillet. Add tomato paste and cook over moderate-high heat, stirring, until paste has dissolved and is on longer in clumps, about 4-5 minutes. Add rest of ingredients, stir and cook, covered, over  medium heat for 10 minutes.
  2.  Stir in tofu, cook another 2 minutes and serve.
    Yield: r servings.

ORZO WITH BEANS AND SAUSAGE

This is another take on that famous Italian entry known as pasta fazool. In more renowned circle, it’s Pasta e Fagioli, or pasta with beans. In the post of 04/26/20 I gave my version of this classic dish. In my family, we prefer white kidney beans when we’re making this recipe. Still, we’re always experimenting and seeking to improve on it. And now we have another version: this time with red kidney beans and sausage. In this entry, the pasta base we’re using is orzo. That singular item that, to us, most resembles rice. And, yes, in past efforts we’ve used rice instead of pasta for this dish.

We prefer to use dried beans instead of the canned variety. True, it’s more effort in that you have to prepare the beans for cooking. This entails soaking overnight a one pound package of beans  in water to cover (by at least 2 inches). Next morning, draining the beans then placing in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven with 2 quarts (8 cups) water. Bring it to a boil, cover and cook over moderate-low heat until beans are tender (about 1 hour).  Now, because of time constraints and convenience, you can substitute 2 (15.5-oz.) cans of red kidney beans. We won’t fault you for that. But, again, it does not match the flavor you get from regular beans.

Note that this dish includes sausage. We prefer the sweet Italian type. Yet you can substitute any pork sausage, or even chicken or turkey sausage. If you’re health conscious, you can use organic vegetable sausages that have appeared in markets in the last few years. Be aware that some sausages come with a casing that has to be removed before cooking.

ORZO WITH BEANS AND SAUSAGE

Ingredients:

1 pound package dry red kidney bean
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (12 oz.) pack sweet Italian uncured sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) package orzo

Instructions:

  1. Prepare beans by soaking overnight; and then cooking as instructed above.
  2.  While beans are cooking, heat olive oil over moderate-high heat in a frying pan or skillet. Add sausage and onion and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  3.  Add sausage mix to beans. Season with oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato sauce, cover and cook until beans are tender.
  4.  While beans are being done, prepare orzo as per package directions. Serve beans and orzo side by side; or you can serve orzo in a large serving dish topped by beans and sausage. Also, if desired, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
    Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

 

 

PUERTO RICAN BLACK BEAN SOUP (Yoga Version)

The recipe is Puerto Rican black bean soup. I call it the ‘yoga version.’ I’m always on the lookout for good bean recipes. Beans are an integral part of Puerto Rican cuisine. But this one has an unusual provenance. My wife, Holly, is a proponent of yoga; and her library includes the  Yoga Natural Foods Cookbook by Richard Hittleman. Now, this book is an oldie. It was first published in 1970 when, during the age of Aquarius, natural food and diet and all those hippy-dippy concepts began to gain currency in our society. So, I was intrigued as to what a yoga cookbook would do with Puerto Rican black bean soup

The recipe calls for garlic, cumin and oregano to be crushed in a mortar. The assumption is that when he mentioned cumin and oregano, the author meant whole cumin seeds and fresh oregano. For the sake of convenience, I tried the recipe with ground cumin and oregano, the type that you can get in any store, and the recipe was just as delicious. So, your choice as to use fresh herbs or dried. Also, the recipe calls for vegetable salt. I discovered that vegetable salt is hard to find in my area. Regular salt is just as good with this dish.

In my culture, beans and rice go like love and marriage. In this case we paired the beans with yellow rice, but plain boiled rice is also good.

PUERTO RICAN BLACK BEAN SOUP
(Yoga Version)

Ingredients:

1 pound black beans
4 cloves garlic
½ tablespoon vegetable salt (can substitute regular table salt—we like sea salt)
1½ teaspoon cumin
1½ teaspoons oregano
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions (chopped)
2 green peppers (chopped and seeded)

Instructions:

Soak beans in water to cover, overnight. Add water to make two quarts and cook until tender. Put garlic, salt and herbs in a mortar and crush. Sauté vegetables in oil until transparent. Add garlic mixture and a tablespoon  or two of water and simmer a few minutes. Add this mixture to beans and simmer 30 minutes.
Note: The book does not tell how many servings the recipe yields. But I would surmise it’d  be from 6 to 8 servings.

 

BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH SAUSAGE

About the only time we have black-eyed peas is on New Year’s Day when we cook them with rice. It’s a dish called Hoppin’ John, and it’s a southern favorite. Other than that, we seldom cook these suckers. Well, I recently found some on hand.  To me, Hoppin’ John is good once a year. I had to create something new with this batch. So, I decided, why not pair them with sausage? It sounded okay. And it turned out magnificent. This dish you can have by itself or with rice. For the sausage, I used pork sausage. But you can use beef, chicken, turkey sausage or, if you’re in the mood for something spicier, Spanish chorizo sausage. Also, remember, if the sausage comes with a casing, remove such before cooking

Let me state that we used dried beans for this recipe. If desired, you can use the canned or frozen variety. However, it will not be the same in terms of texture and flavor. The extra bother of soaking the peas is well worth the effort.  And, yes, I know, there’s a pop-rap group known as the Black Eyed Peas.  They had nothing to do with this dish. Although I was sad when Fergie left the group. J. Rey Soul is a pretty good replacement.

BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH SAUSAGE

Ingredients:

1½ cups dried black-eyed peas
2 sprigs fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 12-ounce package pork sausage, cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons red wine
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. Soak black-eyed peas overnight with water to cover by about 2 inches. Drain and rinse.
  2.  Place beans in a Dutch oven, heavy kettle or pot with water to cover by about 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until peas are tender.
  3.  While peas are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet, add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Add pork and oregano, and sauté until pork is brown. Add wine and cook over high heat until wine is absorbed and has evaporated. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes more.
  5.  When beans have cooked, add sausage, season with salt and pepper, and stir to mix. Garnish with parsley and serve.
    Yield: 4-6   servings.

 

 

MAPLE BAKED BEANS

Back during the Punic Wars when I was a youngster there use to be a Horn and Hardart Automat on East 42nd Street in New York City. This place was a goof to me and my buddies. You would go in, see all this small glass windows, put some change into a slot and a prepared meal would come out.  It was like magic. And our favorite,  at the time, was their baked beans that you could get for 10-15 cents.

The Automat is long gone, having been replaced by such things as McDonald’s and Wendy’s. But I still recall their baked beans. Thus I’m always on the lookout for a good recipe. The one given below should fill the bill. It’s bakes beans infused with maple syrup. I’ve tried baked beans with brown sugar, honey and other sweeteners. Nothing can compare to dark maple syrup as a flavoring.

Now, this recipe can be made  from scratch with dried beans. Or, if pressed for time, you can use canned beans. If it’s dried beans, soak them in water to cover overnight. Drain the next day, place in a pot with water to cover by a two inches or so. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook, partly covered, for about an hour or until tender. Depending upon the age of the beans, it may take longer to cook. Just be patient. Some folks add salt to the beans while cooking. I do not. Your choice.  That’s it. Once beans are done, you add the ingredients needed, and bake.  If it’s canned beans, drain them before cooking.

Almost any type of bean can be used in this recipe. It can be kidney beans, pinto beans, great northern, lima beans, garbanzo beans, whatever. Or, if desired, you can use a mix of beans to give it more oomph. This time around we served the recipe with anther favorite, chicken wings. But you can serve the dish with beef, pork, lamb or just plain rice. The choice is endless, and the meal will be great, be it a formal dinner, a cookout or picnic.

MAPLE BEAKED BEANS

Ingredients:

2 cups favorite cooked beans, or a combination thereof
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼  cup mustard
Chili powder to taste (optional)
½ teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
¾ cup dark maple syrup
8 ounces bottled spicy barbecue sauce

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2.  Mix together all ingredients in an oven-proof pot or pan and bake for 1 hour.
    Yield: 6 servings.

ARISTA OF PORK AND BEANS

Arista of Pork and Beans is the classic dish of Tuscany. It is made, traditionally, with pork loin. One can also use pork shoulder. My version is made with pork shank. In fact, there’s a theory that arista, in Latin, means upper part, possibly referring to pork shank, or upper part of the pig. The most popular story of how the dish got its name is that in 1430, the Byzantine Patriarch, Bessarion, came to Florence for an ecumenical council and, when he tasted the roast pork, he exclaimed “Aristos!”, the Greek word for best or excellent.

The beans in the dish refers to Tuscan Beans. That is,  white beans, either Great Northern or navy beans, and cooked with sage and plum tomatoes.

This is a special dish for that special occasion when you want to impress family and friends. However, anytime would be a great occasion for this classic. With a good Chianti, nothing could be better.

ARISTA OF PORK AND BEANS

Ingredients:

1 four-pound pork shank  or loin of pork
3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary or 1½ teaspoons dried
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 whole cloves
2 cups dry red or white wine
2 cups water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Trim excess fat from pork. Roll garlic slivers in rosemary. With the point of a sharp knife, cut small incisions in the meat and in each incision insert a garlic sliver. Rub the meat with salt and pepper. Insert the whole cloves in the meat.
  3.  Place the pork on a roasting pan. Pour the water and wine in the pan. Cook for 2¾ hours, basting occasionally. Cut roast into thin slices and serve.

TUSCAN BEANS

Ingredients:

1½ cups small dried white beans, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 plum tomatoes, chopped; or 1/3 cup canned, drained and chopped

Instructions:

  1. Soak beans overnight in a large bowl with water to cover.
  2.  Drain beans and place in a Dutch oven or large pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes or until beans are just tender. Drain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over moderate heat. Add beans, sage, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring with a fork, 3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and toss lightly to blend. Cook 3 minutes more and serve with pork roast.
    Yield: 6 servings.
Older posts

© 2023 Oswald Rivera

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑