I've been cooking a lot of exotic beans this past year, thanks to our Lonesome Whistle Farm heirloom bean CSA, but truth be told I'd been hankering for a good pot of plain old black beans, and was happy to see these ones, grown at the Huntons' Farm, for sale from the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project.
Once you've cooked up a pot of black beans, you've got endless meal possibilities because they go so well with so many things: as a main dish with salads and corn bread, or as a side for fish tacos, roasted chicken, or grilled salmon. One of my favorite comfort foods is black beans and cheesy eggs.
Recently I've been making this version of huevos rancheros from Smitten Kitchen, where you toast the tortilla (corn or wheat), flip it, sprinkle on some grated cheese, crack an egg on top, and then cook it sunny side over. We made these for an after market brunch on Sunday with fresh eggs and grilled sweet cherry tomatoes from Songbird Farm. I could have eaten them all week, except we finished off the pot of black beans.
grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
black beans (see recipe below)
sour cream for serving
hot sauce like Cholula for serving
Heat a griddle. Place on two tortillas, cook until toasted, flip and turn the heat to low. Sprinkle a handful of grated cheese on each tortilla, making an indentation in the center to trap the egg. Crack an egg into each cheese nest. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes until the white starts to harden and the cheese melts. Flip each tortilla and cook on the second side until the yoke just starts to set. Simultaneously cook some halved cherry tomatoes until slightly charred. Serve the tortilla and eggs with the grilled tomatoes on top and black beans on the side with a dollop of sour cream and hot sauce.
Best Black Beans
1 pound black beans, sorted and rinsed
2 Tbsp neutral oil such as grape seed
1 small onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened chocolate powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
4 cups boiling water
1. Heat the oil in a deep sauce pan or the pan of a stovetop compatible slow cooker. Saute the onions until glassy, add the garlic and saute a couple of minutes longer. Then add the spices (cumin through salt in the list above) and stir into the oil to make a paste. When the spices have become fragrant, after about a minute, add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the spiced tomatoes into a paste. If necessary, transfer to a slow cooker, and rinse the pan with a cup of boiling water to transfer all of the tomato paste.
2. Add the dried black beans to the spiced tomatoes and all of the remaining hot water. Cook on low for about 4 hours, swishing the pot occasionally, until the beans are tender. The cooking time will vary with the slow cooker and the dryness of the beans. You can also prepare this on the stovetop, which will take less time, and require a little more water and more attention. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with huevos rancheros.