Pagan’s Black Beans

When I was growing up, my mom and grandmother always seemed to have a pot of pinto beans ready each week to go with many of our meals. Beans were a regular staple in many households when raised in New Mexico. Interestingly, I never enjoyed the taste of the beans. I often found them boring, sorry, mom! It wasn’t until I decided to start eating primarily vegetarian that I found a love of beans and legumes. I had to find my way to cook them so they didn’t seem flavorless and bland. After lots of trial and error, I developed a recipe that was full of flavor and so versatile! This recipe is ideal for black beans, but I have also made more savory versions of this with red beans and pinto beans.

In this recipe, I do not soak my beans. I used to soak them until I had an MS brain moment and added them to my Dutch oven without soaking them. Though they took longer to cook, they had such a deep flavor! So, I do not soak them at all now. If you wish to soak yours, don’t worry they will still turn out delicious, but consider taking the extra time not to soak them.

Ingredients

  • 1-pound dried black beans, rinsed
  • 1 ½ to 2 boxes of vegetable stock
  • ¼ teaspoon vegetable better than bullion
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon green chili powder, plus more if needed, or one mild can of green chilis
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, plus more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder, plus more if needed
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 to 4 dashes of Cholula red hot sauce
  • 2 to 4 dashes of Cholula green hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
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Instructions

  1. In a 6-to-8-quart Dutch oven, the oil, onions, and bell peppers. Sauté the onions and peppers until they start to get some color on them. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Add in your spices except for your green chili powder and stir. Add the unsoaked beans, stock, better than bullion, and tomato paste, and stir well to make sure everything is well combined.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Then add the chili powder or green chiles and stir. Cover and continue simmering for another hour add more stock as needed.
  4. Uncover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes to an hour depending on how you like your bean texture. Taste for seasoning and add more of what it needs.
  5. These beans are perfect to serve over rice or cornbread with any of your favorite toppings, such as sour cream, cheese, guacamole, diced peppers or jalapenos, or diced tomatoes.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is making a large batch of the beans, portioning them out for meals, and freezing them. They are delicious in black bean burgers, burritos, tacos, whatever you like black beans in! I often will use them in my soups too!

I understand why as a homesteader, beans were so important to our household growing up and now. They are affordable, nutritious, versatile, and delicious!

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