Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Frijoles Negros (or, Black Bean and Randomness Soup)

Wow, no recipes posted in a while! But I'm now back out on my own at my summer internship, so I'm having to feed myself again. Here is one of my new favorites.

For me, black beans are in a special food group of familiarity, along with garlic, hummus, dark chocolate, tostones, and cafe con leche. Having been raised in a Cuban family, these beans were practically my first solid food. There's nothing quite like a plate of homemade black beans on white rice (with tostones and boliche, of course). They are flavorful, filling, cheap, and very healthy (they contain plenty of fiber, protein, folate, a lot of antioxidants, and help stabilize blood sugar).

I have recently developed and perfected a new meal idea: canned black beans dumped into a tupperware, with a few slices of mozzarella, a spoonful of minced garlic, dried chopped onions, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a handful of chips or torn up corn tortillas. Nuke for a few minutes, enjoy. Or, if there's a bit of time, stick in the slow cooker on high for 2-3 hours.

Total win! SO easy to prepare, SO delicious, and very inexpensive. The beans were under a dollar a can at Wal-Mart, the tortillas come from a gigantic stack that cost a few dollars, and the other ingredients are always around anyway. Of course, I can only make these every few days. It's such a great "cop-out" meal when I'm tired and just want to get enough protein to not start breaking down emotionally (it happens).

When I have a bit more time, I go a bit further and add the following to Gretel:

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 spoonful minced garlic (or 1-2 cloves)
  • 1/2-1 onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • A few dashes of cayenne pepper
  • A few dashes of black pepper
  • Any other foods that have been hanging out in the fridge for a while and need to be consumed (examples: okra, avocado, and celery).
  • Whatever meat is lying around. I've used ground beef I browned in my rice cooker, chopped up steak, and chicken.
  • Mozzarella cheese, once the soup/chili-thing is done cooking
  • SALT! Oh my gosh, salt salt salt salt salt. Otherwise it tastes funky.

This plus some chips or tortillas = yes.