I make black beans often. They make a great, cheap dinner and are quite versatile. I recently saw a recipe for black bean tostasas in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. The recipe looked quite intriguing, but it called for beer. I decided to make a version of it tonight, and in the spirit of a true budget-conscious meal, I decided to use what I had on hand rather than go out and buy ingredients for the recipe. While a recipe that calls for chocolate, peanut butter, black beans, green chiles and wine might sound a little strange — scary, even — it all comes together quite nicely for this robust, mole-inspired bean dish.
One of my favorite bloggers, Karina Allrich, has a great page on her site about going gluten free. In it, she talks about gluten-free wines. It might be a good reference point for those concerned about buying wine that is safe for their diet.
The green sauce on top of the tostadas is my aunt’s jalapeno salsa, which I’ve been making incessantly ever since she shared the recipe with me. It is the perfect, fresh accompaniment to the more earthy beans. In keeping with the healthiness of the beans, I used sprouted corn tortillas and baked them in the oven. They still get nice and crisp. You can also slice the tortillas and use the same method for making homemade, baked tortilla chips. I do this often and they are great. Just sprinkle with a little pinch of salt right when they come out of the oven.
I’m watching the Oscars as I write this. Is it just me, or are they dragging a bit this year? Maybe it’s just because while last year I made a point to see all the nominated films, I was a little too busy (and broke) to make my rounds this year. I guess I am just out of the loop. And, as a former musical theatre geek, I don’t think anything will top Hugh Jackman’s opening number from last year’s show — for me, at least.
Mole Black Beans:
1 lb. dry black beans
8 cups water, divided plus more for quick soaking
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 4-oz. can mild green chiles
1 plum tomato, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons creamy, roasted peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Baked, Crisp Tortillas:
6-8 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. To quick soak black beans: in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven, cover black beans completely with water and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and let sit, covered for an hour and a half to two hours. Drain and rinse.
2. Add black beans back to pot, along with 5 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until beans absorb water, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occassionally. When water has been absorbed, add another 2 cups water, and 1/2 cup wine. Cover and simmer until the beans absorb the water again, stirring occassionally (about 20 minutes).
3. Taste beans to make sure they’re soft. If they need to be cooked a little more, add a bit more water and cook, covered, for 10-15 more minutes, watching to make sure they don’t burn to the bottom of the pot. When beans are soft, removed from heat. While still hot, add green chiles, tomato, cumin, chile powder, peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa, smoked paprika and 2 tablespoons white wine. Adjust salt to taste.
4. Serve beans over toasted tortillas: preheat oven to 400. Brush a large, flat baking sheet with olive oil. Lay tortillas flat on baking sheet and brush the tops of each tortilla. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating baking sheet once, until edges are golden brown. Let cool slightly on a wire rack that’s covered in paper towel to absorb extra oil.
5. To serve, top crisp tortillas with about 1/4 cup black beans, jalapeno salsa, and whatever else you think you might enjoy: chopped tomato, avocado, lettuce, olives or peppers.