Quick Beans

February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

E: I am a big fan of beans and Southwestern flavors. As a sometimes-vegetarian (and generally trying and succeeding to eat less meat than I used to, with a few minor setbacks like bacon here and there) I’ve been thoroughly wooed by the heartiness of beans and vegetables. This recipe owes a lot to Susan’s baked beans, with which it shares many of its ingredients. However this is something you can successfully make with any kind of beans in about 20 to 30 minutes, in basically any quantity you want.

quick, easy, healthy, and delicious

We make this or some variant quite often for lunches as well as dinners. I imagine it is a great way to use up any extra vegetables you have in the fridge. We always seem to have extra carrots, so that’s usually what we make this with. I’ll give you the basic amounts of things and you should play around with it to suit your liking.

Ingredients (scaled to 1 can of beans):

1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 medium carrots, diced (about as much as the onion)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can black beans (or other kind of beans)
1-2 apples, diced (optional)
splash of wine or vermouth
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste (optional)

Start by dicing up the vegetables. If you can, you want to get everything diced to a fairly consistent size. It makes it look better and cook faster, so you aren’t waiting for chunks of things to be done.

the vegetables

The first thing to do once you have the vegetables cut is to cook the onion. Add a little oil (about 1 tbsp or so) to a large frying pan or pot. Heat it over medium high and throw in the onions.

onions cooking

Cook these over medium high until they are translucent and starting to brown. Then add in the carrots. Cook these for a few minutes until they start to soften.

Then add a splash of wine or vermouth, and make sure you get any browned bits off the bottom of the pan (you won’t see that in these pictures because we used a nonstick pot, but if you are using an uncoated pan you will be able to see the effect of adding a little cold liquid quite clearly). Add in your garlic and apples.

added the apples, carrots, and garlic

Cook until the carrots are done through. The apples shouldn’t take long. If you are using cumin, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes, I suggest you add them now. We’ve made this successfully with nothing but salt and pepper, though we do suggest adding a hint of spiciness with some red chili flakes. If you want to add the spices, we suggest you start with 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cayenne, and just a pinch of the chili flakes. You can add some black pepper here as well.

Then, add the beans (I always drain and rinse them first until they stop producing soapy bubbles).

almost done!

This is almost done. Cook just long enough to heat the beans. You’ll know as they start to fall apart quite quickly. The final act is to taste some of it. Does it need salt or pepper? Does it need a bit more kick? Salt the food to taste and, if you are a black-pepper junkie like I am, add some more of that here. I’ve taken to adding a little garlic and onion powders to the beans right at the end as well, to give it a bit of a fresh, garlic-y bite.

Serve on tortillas with salsa, guacamole, cheese, &c. for a meal of tacos or quesadillas. Or, serve as a side dish with other food. These beans are really wonderfully versatile.

served on a tortilla, with salsa

Enjoy!

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