Recipe: Spiced black beans

Not the most appealling photo, but a simple and tasty meal

Winter is a time when our use of dried and stored food goes up significantly. We grow some of our dried beans ourselves, and purchase others in bulk. This recipe is my basic method for a pseudo-Mexican spiced bean mixture that can be served over rice as a main course or used as a base for tacos, wraps, or meat dishes. It’s best with black beans or mixed beans, less so for kidneys or pintos. Rather than using a premade chili mix, I make a custom spice mix that is far tastier because the spices are ground fresh and I can control the ratio of spices. Canned beans can of course be substituted, as can pre-ground spices, but the taste and quality will suffer.

1-2 cup dried beans (2-6 cooked/canned)
Bean liquid, broth, or water
2 onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
Hot peppers to taste, minced
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp coriander seed
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp turmeric
1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro, if available

Cook the beans by your desired method (there are several) or open the can if needed. Grind the spices (or mix if using pre-ground spices). Saute the onions, garlic, and peppers in some oil until starting to soften, then add the spices and saute a few more minutes. When pan is very aromatic and onions/garlic are soft, add beans and liquid of your choice until mixture is lightly moist. Simmer for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend; the longer the time the better. Check and add liquid as needed to keep the beans just moist and not sticking to the bottom.

Dish is done when you taste it and decide it’s done. As a main course, serve over rice garnished with chopped cilantro and/or shredded/crumbled strong cheese (like cheddar). Chopped or ground meat is easily added to this dish with the onions and adds another layer of flavor and texture.

2 thoughts on “Recipe: Spiced black beans

  1. Thanks for the lovely recipe, it seems more like authentic Mexican food than pseudo. It sounds like a great dish for a chilly night. I might add a couple more Mexican ingredients like Mexican oregano to add some extra kick.

  2. Good catch on the oregano; I often use it and just plain forgot when I wrote up the recipe from memory. Another very good and authentic addition is epazote, which we’ve grown but don’t have at the moment. It smells rather odd raw but adds a unique and authentic flavor when cooked.