Posts tagged ‘black beans’

Pumpkin and Black Bean Enchiladas with Mole Negro Recipe

I made mole last night for the first time. It took 4 hours and was fantastically spicy, smoky and sweet. I had a bunch left over, which means some killer leftovers for later on! I’d definitely recommend making a giant batch and portioning it out in the freezer. Because it takes so long to prepare, the directions below are written to minimize the time. You certainly don’t have to follow that, if you like taking your time!

Mole recipe:

5 ancho chiles
5 guajillo chiles
1/2 c almonds
2 med. onions (unpeeled)
4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
4 tomatillos (unpeeled)
1 large tomato
2 cinnamon sticks (about 3″ each) broken up in the smaller chunks.
1/2 bunch (about 2 dozen sprigs) or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 c fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 c sesame seeds
16 whole cloves
14 allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 c raisins
1 c breadcrumbs
4+ T olive oil, divided
1/2 c dark unsweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli extra-dark 70% cocoa)
1-2 c chicken or veggie broth as needed

Enchiladas recipe:

1 small pumpkin
2 cans of black beans
1 can of corn
1/2 to 1 c chopped cilantro
3/4 c goat cheese, divided
1 T fresh lime juice
2 T olive oil
10-12 large tortillas

Mole instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Wipe off the peppers, remove the tops, saving the seeds. Arrange chiles and almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven, rotating the chiles occasionally. Toast the almonds for about 10 min., chiles for about 20 min. The chiles should be starting to blacken. While those are toasting, heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Blacken the pepper seeds. Be careful for the fumes when you do this. Once they are blackened, soak the seeds in hot water (changing the water occasionally). When the almonds and chiles are done, place them in a bowl to cool. (There will be a lot of “setting aside to cool” in this recipe. I just had one or two large bowls on the counter that I would throw things in while I was waiting). If you’re making enchiladas with pumpkin, increase the heat to 375. Half the pumpkin, scoop out it’s guts, put it open-side-down on the cookie sheet, and put it in the oven. It needs to cook for at least 45 minutes, so do this now while you’re working on everything else. In the heavy skillet, toast the sesame seeds, shaking frequently. Set aside to cool. Add onions, garlic, tomatillos (all still with their skin) and tomato to the skillet. Pan-grill these, moving around occasionally to cook on all sides. The garlic will be soft and starting to brown (about 10 min.) Tomatillos will start to char on the outside and become soft (about 15 min.) The tomato will become soft with charred skin (15-20 min.) The onions’ skin will start to char (20-25 min.) When each is done, set aside to cool. While the veggies are cooking, prep the spices, chopping the thyme and oregano if fresh, and grating the nutmeg and ginger. Once the veggies are cool enough to handle, peel them and set aside. When all the veggies have finished cooking, heat a liberal amount of olive oil in the skillet until shimmering. Fry all of the herbs and spices, stirring often, until heavily aromatic (2-4 min.) (Warning: Something reacted pretty strongly when I added it to the hot oil. I think it may have been the nutmeg, but I’m not sure. Regardless, something started popping and exploding, like bacon but way more intense. Be careful when you add the spices). Set aside to cool. Finally, heat a couple more tablespoons of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the breadcrumbs and raisins, stirring often. The breadcrumbs should turn golden-brown, and the raisins will plump up a bit. Remove from heat and cool.

Whew! Good job. You’re almost there. All of the ingredients for the mole are now cooked! At this point, check on the pumpkin to see if it’s tender when pierced with a fork. Remove it from the oven and set it open-side-up to cool. Now it’s time to make the mole into a sauce. If you have a gigundous food processor, you could just throw it all in and blend. Mine is small, so I did it in batches. Either way, start with the chiles, and save the tomato and tomatillos for last. Grinding them into a powder. (You may want to cover your nose and mouth for this. Breathing chile = lots of coughing). Start adding the drier ingredients (almonds, sesame seeds, spices, pepper seeds, garlic and onions). If the mixture starts getting too pasty, throw in one of the tomatillos or a chunk of tomato to give it enough liquid to move around a bit. You want the consistency of a thick sauce. Transfer batches to a 3-quart pot. Save the breadcrumbs, raisins and tomato (or what’s left of it) for last. (The smoother you can get the overall mix, the better. If you have a hand blender, you can use that if you want to once it’s all in the pot). Heat the entire mixture, and add the chocolate. Simmer for at least 3o minutes (but the longer the better), stirring occassionally. Add stock as needed if it starts getting too thick.

Enchiladas instructions:

Remove the skin of the pumpkin and chop the meat into 1/2″ cubes. Drain and rinse the black beans and corn. Chop the cilantro and crumble 1/2 c of goat cheese. Toss all together in a large bowl with lime juice and olive oil.

Line the bottom of a baking pan with a thin layer of mole sauce to keep the enchiladas from sticking. Fill tortillas with squash, black bean mixture, roll, and line them up in the pan. Spoon a liberal amount of mole oever the top off the enchiladas to cover. Crumble the remaining 1/4 c goat cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.


November 6, 2010 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Pressure Cooker Revolution

It may sound dramatic, but my pressure cooker changed my life.

I self-identify as a “reduced meat consumer.” For ethical reasons I have chosen not to buy meat. (Ok, I cheat from time to time. We’ll buy fish on occasion). I never reject food that someone else has prepared for me, especially in cross-cultural situations. However, when I’m cooking in my home, the food is almost exclusively vegetarian. Nuts and beans are the primary source of protein in our household.

For years, we’ve had bags of dry beans in the pantry. I can remember my though process at the grocery store when I bought them. “I hate having to buy so many cans of beans. Dry beans are cheaper to buy, and it cuts down considerably on waste. They don’t have all the added sodium either. I should cook dry beans more often! In fact, I’m going to start right now.”

I resolutely grab a bag or two off the shelf. I bring them home and put them in the pantry along with all of my great ambitions. Ambitions must be like a wine that gets better with age, because the beans usually sat unopened in the pantry for months upon months.

The problem with dried beans is that cooking them requires an inordinate amount of foresight. Ideally, they soak  overnight, then simmer for 2 hours until tender. It’s entirely impractical. I can cook, eat and do the dishes in 2 hours. I don’t have that kind of patience. Furthermore, I inevitably forget to soak them the night before. Sure, some legumes cook quicker than others. Lentils used to be a staple for this reason, but after a while I got tired of lentils. Lentils also don’t substitute for black beans or chick peas well at all.

Alas, I resigned myself to buying canned beans.

Until my wife met a family from the Middle East. They cooked beans all the time in a pressure cooker. “And it only takes like 15 minutes!” wifey exclaimed. (An exaggeration perhaps, but not an egregious one). So we asked for a pressure cooker for Christmas.

It revolutionized my world.

Skip the 12 hours of soaking and 2 hours of simmering. My pressure cooker cooks beans in 30 minutes. Even gigantic fava beans only take about 45 minutes. Brown rice cooks in 20.

Now those abandoned bags in the back of the cupboard are getting consumed in a timely fashion. We even started buying beans in bulk (15 lbs., last time).

The pressure cooker should be a vital part of the vegetarian’s kitchen. If you don’t have one, get one asap.

May 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

Corn and Bean (Burritos)

This has become an absolute staple in our house. It’s cheap, healthy, low in fat, high in fiber, delicious. We affectionately call it, simply, “corn ‘n’ bean.” For the black beans, we use a pressure cooker to cook dry beans, but you can use canned beans. The spice mix for this recipe is the key.

Spice mix:
2 parts cumin
2 parts coriander
1 part cinnamon

4 c black beans (2 cans)
2 c corn (1 can)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c salsa
4 T corn’n’bean spice mix
Chili, salt, pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, saute the onion in olive oil. 3 minutes before the onions are done, add the garlic, spice mix, chili, salt and pepper. Then, add the beans, corn, salsa and simmer for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid cooks off.

Put in tortilla with cheese, kefir, and Sriracha.

May 20, 2010 at 4:32 am 1 comment

Ashram Budget Recipes

I was in a wedding this past weekend. One of the bridesmaids mentioned that she’s started making one of our house recipes after learning it from the groom. It made me think about how much I love our house recipes, and how so many more people should know about them.

They are the ultimate budget recipes, carefully honed over several years to yield the most nutrition for the lowest price. Each one contains a good balance of protein to carbohydrates, and each one can feed a person for less than a dollar. Filling, nutritious, flavorful and extremely inexpensive, they are the belong in every miser’s cookbook.

All of these recipes will feed two people and can be made in 15 minutes tops. All of them can also be improvised upon by adding sauted vegetables: Onions, garlic, celery, green pepper, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash, corn or really anything else you happen to have laying around. If fresh produce is too expensive, use a bag of those frozen mixed chopped veggies from the grocery store. Adding spices is always a good idea, too. I usually add some variation of cumin, coriander, curry and whatever else I feel like adding on a whim from the cabinet.

Also, all of these are exponentially improved by adding as much Sriracha as you can possibly stand.

Spicy Peanut Rice

This recipe is similar to Thai Spicy Peanut Chicken… minus the chicken and expensive specialty ingredients like galanga or fish oil.

1 c. rice
4 spoonfuls of peanut butter (crunchy and natural are best)
Hot sauce to taste (preferably Sriracha)

Cook the rice in a saucepan. When the rice is about 2 minutes from being done, spoon the peanut butter over the top of it, so that it starts to melt. When it’s finished, pour about twice as much hot sauce as you can bear over it (the fatty protein of the peanut butter takes a lot of the edge off of it). Mix thoroughly and enjoy.

Beanie Mac

This is the essential Ashram House recipe. It is our brainchild and our staple. True, it’s a bit non-traditional, but it is sooooo good. Don’t knock ’til you try it.

1 box of macaroni and cheese (preferably Annie’s shells, don’t ever buy Kraft)
1 can of black beans
Splash of milk

Cook the macaroni shells. While they cook, mix the cheese powder with the milk until it’s creamy. Drain most of the liquid from the can of black beans. Heat over a skillet until hot. When cooked, drain the shells and add the cheese. Then add the beans and mix.

Beans and Rice

Our first budget recipe. Simplistic and good, it leaves plenty of room for improvization.

1 c. of rice
1 can of black beans

Cook the rice. Drain most of the liquid from the can of black beans. Heat over a skillet until hot. Spoon over the rice.

July 22, 2009 at 11:04 am Leave a comment


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