Simmered Black Beans (Vegan)Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Earlier this week, Beyoncé announced her 21 day vegan diet plan to the world... and her fans were livid that they woke up early to hear it. It was honestly one of the most hilarious days I've seen on social media in awhile.
Beyoncé reading her Instagram comments like pic.twitter.com/FsIcOjgXcU— Allie (@Fergyonce) June 8, 2015
Truth be told, there isn't a celebrity on this earth who could convince me to give up meat forever, or even 21 days. But all jokes aside, I do incorporate plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes into my diet. They just aren't all of my diet. I love vegetables and I do think they deserve to be the star of the show when at their best. That's why for this pot of beans, you won't see bacon or ham hocks, chicken stock, or even a pat of butter. Just good hearty black beans and lots of aromatics. That's really all you need to make the most delicious black beans you'll ever have. Best part? You don't even need to soak them the day before. One of my favorite sources for recipe testing, Serious Eats, has a pretty lengthy discussion about that.
Side note: I do understand that some people soak to prevent digestive issues, and if you care to take that step it definitely won't hurt this recipe. I personally found no reason to and love the results, minus the extra prep time!
On weeknights, I am not ashamed to open up a couple cans of black beans, doctor those bad boys up with onions, herbs and spices and call it a day. But if I'm honest, canned beans will never compare to a pot prepared from dried beans. That deep, dark rich gravy can't be rushed and neither can the subtle layers of flavor you'll experience. I first fell in love with this style of black beans eating at Cuban restaurants in South Florida. I could live off Cuban black beans and rice, and I'm not even into beans like that. This recipe isn't authentic by any means, as I definitely have my own touches. The style of preparation was influenced by Latin techniques though, and I'd confidently serve my black beans to anybody. My twelve year old son (who doesn't usually extend conversation at the table beyond "it's good") stopped me in my tracks when he finished dinner with, "The beans were perfect, Mom." That's when I knew I would share my recipe.
These beans are righteous the day they're made, and they'll get even better after an overnight sit in the fridge, not to mention the next day or two after that if they last. Serve black beans over rice with a little bit of fresh cilantro and lime for the true experience. Or...you can wash all your vegan ambitions down the drain and pile the rice and beans with pulled pork. Your choice.
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 3 to 4 hrs
Suggested Equipment: Heavy dutch oven pot, small skillet
Next add the remaining five garlic cloves, finely minced, along with the dried oregano and chopped cilantro. Reduce the heat to low and continue to gently cook the sofrito for another few minutes until it is aromatic and golden.
Stir the sofrito into the pot of cooked black beans. Allow it to simmer for another 15 minutes or so to absorb the flavors before tasting and making any adjustments for salt.
I used a potato masher to partially crush the beans. You don't want refried beans, but smashing them up a bit helps to thicken the gravy and makes a really great texture. You'll end up with a mix of mostly whole beans, with the rest pureed and incorporated into the sauce. As you can see there is still quite a bit of liquid left in the pot. I let the beans simmer for another half an hour to get the gravy to the perfect consistency. My total cooking time is usually between three and four hours, give or take, This isn't something you can time exactly, so just be sure you have a lazy afternoon free and don't stress it.
To finish things off, do one final check for salt and pepper, and stir in the remaining tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil, as well as the vinegar.
Give it a minute, spoon some beans in a bowl for your first real taste, then be prepared to swear off cans for awhile. You just made a crazy delicious, creamy pot of seasoned black beans.