I bought a pack of dried black beans last week because, as you know, I am doing a detox which means lots of beans, chickpeas, lentils etc. As I have mentioned before, I have got a bit of a habit of buying dried legumes and then never using them, therefore I have a cupboard full of loads of different types of dals, beans and lentils. I was determined, this time, to use them straight away because I’ve never cooked with black beans before. Not just because I couldn’t fit them in the cupboard…
I did a bit of research and found out that most people advise soaking the beans overnight before cooking them, so this is what I did. Very organised of me, I know. I think it cuts down on the cooking time. A lot of colour comes out of the beans into the water which is quite alarming, you discard this water and cook the beans in clean water or a mixture of water & stock, which is what I did. Another tip is not to season the beans until they are nearly cooked. If you cook them in salted water it makes them tough apparently.
I had to go Mexican on the flavours here. I lot of the recipes I saw using black beans were for soup which you can easily do by adding more stock or water. I wanted something a bit more substantial for dinner. You could also serve it with some corn tortillas/nachos for scooping up the chilli and avocado salsa which would be great for entertaining. Put a big bowl of the chilli with a dish of the avocado salsa and a pile of corn tortillas/nachos and any other extras like grated cheese, sour cream, chopped spring onions and fresh coriander on the table. Just let everyone help themselves “family style”.
Black Bean Chilli with Avocado Lime Salsa
serves 3, vegan, gluten-free
- 250 gr dried black beans (you can used 500 gr cooked just rinse and drain them and add them in with the tinned tomatoes and a bit of veg stock)
- 500 ml clean water
- 500 ml veg stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 stick celery, finely chopped
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and diced
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder (or more if you like)
- 2 or 3 tbsp chipotle chilli salsa (or chipotle chillis in adobo)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tin (400 gr) chopped tomatoes
- 150 gr sweetcorn
- 2 or 3 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
- green parts of spring onion finely chopped for garnish
- coriander leaves for garnish
Rinse the beans and pick out any foreign bodies. Put them in a large bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight.
Drain the beans and put them in a saucepan with the veg stock and clean water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1- 1 & 1/2 hours until the beans are tender.
When the beans are nearly cooked heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat then add the cumin seeds & coriander seeds. When they start to pop add the onion, celery, carrot and green pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened and the onions are translucent then add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir in the tomato puree, chipotle salsa, chilli powder, ground cumin, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and tinned tomatoes. Season well with salt & black pepper and add sweetcorn.
When the beans are cooked remove two ladles full of beans and stock to a bowl or processor and blend until smooth. If the rest of the beans are really liquidy tip out some of the cooking liquid and reserve it in case you need it later. Pour the blended beans back into the rest of the beans, stir and add into the tomato mixture. Cook for a further 10 minutes and then check seasoning. (You can add back some of the bean cooking liquid or veg stock now if you want it more soupy).
For the Avocado Lime Salsa
- 1 avocado, roughly mashed
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- the juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 red chilli,deseeded & finely chopped
- salt & black pepper
- fresh coriander, leaves & stalks, finely chopped
Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl and taste for seasoning. More lime/salt/ chilli/coriander?
Serve in warmed bowls topped with a dollop of the avocado salsa, some chopped spring onions and coriander leaves.
The black beans have a lovely flavour and a surprising creaminess which makes this a really comforting, spicy dish perfect to eat in front of the TV with a spoon or equally good for casual entertaining.
And if you needed any more incentive: Avocados are rich in vitamin E and alphacarotene, both powerful antioxidants that help prevent furring of the arteries and heart disease. They also contain monounsaturated fat which lowers blood cholesterol as well as essential omega 6 fats that promote healthy skin. People have commented on how well I look, it must be the avocados….!!