I modified this recipe from the New Deli's recipe for black bean chili (minus the chili). I started making this recipe on one of my many vegetarian stints, because, at that time, it was hard to find good vegetarian canned black beans (especially any like this more refried version). Now, a lot of stores sell refried black beans, but I still prefer the flavor of these ones, and the fact that I can control what goes into them (no, thank you, lard). And let me tell you, they are so much cheaper! The recipe is a pretty big batch, so I make it (and sometimes double it) and portion it into 1/2 or full cup servings, saran wrap, and freeze. When you want blackbeans for your tacos or burritos or whatever, just grab a portion out of the freezer and defrost. It's super easy.
what you need:
1 pound dried black beans
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
salt to taste (I sometimes leave the salt out till I reheat it later)
what to do:
Presoak the beans. This makes the cooking time shorter, and allows the beans to cook more evenly. You can either soak them with an inch of water above the beans overnight, or do the "quick soak method." To do this, place the beans in a pot and cover them well with water. Bring water to a boil and boil for a minute or two. Turn the heat off, cover, and steep one hour. Drain the water out, and the beans are ready to cook.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook for five or so minutes, until the onion has wilted.
Add the drained beans to the onion/garlic mixture, along with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the cumin and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours or longer, until the beans are very tender. Stir every once in a while, and make sure there's enough water. Add the salt in the last 1/2 hour.
A couple of pointers on this recipe:
- sometimes I use butter instead of oil (like when I forget to buy oil) and it adds a different richness to the flavor.
- don't cover the beans during the 3 hours, unless you want a really soupy bean concoction. Believe me, it happens.
- to "simmer" the beans for that long, you really need to leave the temp on medium or a little lower.