Still, 3 hours from sorting and rinsing a new bag o’ beans to soft, slightly smashed, and just a little bit spicy is practically instant in the world of dried beans.
Bon Appétit first published this recipe in 2003, but I found it whilst surfing epicurious.com while looking for something bean-ish to go with some Fry Bread Tacos I’d been wanting to try (check out those tomorrow – today is all about da beans).
•1 lb dried pinto beans
•2 tbsp canola oil
•2 small onions, chopped
•4 cloves garlic, minced
•1 jalapeño, halved and seeds left in
•1 tbsp dried oregano
•1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
(or chili powder or plain cumin)
•2 tbsp brown sugar (packed)
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 bay leaf
•9-1/2 cups water
A note: the nice folk at Bon Appétit used plain cumin and left the seeds in the halved jalapeño – if, like me, you use a Cajun/Spicy seasoning – or chili powder – you may want to think about scraping out some of those jalapeño seeds. My beans were g-o-o-o-d, but may be a bit warm for some tastes.
Heat the oil in a large pot – I ignored Julia Child’s basic rule to always start with a pot bigger than I thought I’d need and so grabbed a Dutch oven when I should’ve grabbed the tall soup pot, which meant swapping pots before adding all that water.
Add the chopped onion to the hot oil and sauté for 10 minutes, until tender.
Here’s where I had to swap out pots:
Add the pinto beans, 9-1/2 cups of water, and the bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer over moderate heat for one hour.
Remove the jalapeño and the bay leaf, then add the brown sugar and the salt and simmer, uncovered, for another hour or so, until the beans are tender (really, they will be) and most of the liquid has cooked off.
Mash most of the beans – I left mine about half mashed – taste and season with additional salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Serve now, or allow to cool, then stash, uncovered, in the fridge until cold, then cover and chill overnight. Rewarm as you would refried beans.
Oh, and those Fry Bread Tacos? Rich had his beans on the side; I spread mine directly on the bread and then topped it with all the trimmings…
Check it out tomorrow…