Monday, January 30, 2012

Black Beans and Rice

My grandma taught me how to make black beans and rice. Her recipe is delicious, although, to be honest, my beans turn out differently each time--sometimes soupier, sometimes spicier. Either way, my family claims I never make them often enough.

Dried black beans are something we have in our food storage so whenever we have a leftover ham bone (or ham slices) in the freezer, I try to figure this into our menu. I do need to plan ahead because the beans need to soak overnight, but the rewards are scrumptious.


Black Beans and Rice

1 lb. black beans (I use 2-3 cups from bulk.)

The night before you plan to serve them, place beans (rinsed and picked through) in a large saucepan and add 5-6 cups water. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and soak beans overnight.

The next day bring the beans to a boil and add as you prepare them:
3 large stalks celery, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tsp. dried basil (or handful of fresh)
ham, sausage, or bacon (if desired)

Simmer (covered) approximately 5-6 hours until the beans are soft. Add more water as needed. (I usually add several more cups.) Just before serving, remove the jalapeno and add 1-2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Serve over rice.

Julie's Notes: My black beans taste the best when I add a ham bone or chopped up ham slices to the beans as well. The ham is usually left over from some type of holiday feast. Just let the bone simmer with the beans all day, and remove it before serving. Tiny pieces of meat literally fall off the bone into the beans and flavor it deliciously.

10 comments:

  1. We love lack beans. I'll have to try this. Our ham bone or leftovers usually go into split pea soup, but this would be a yummy alternative. Thanks!

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  2. One other question- have you ever tried this in a crock pot? I'd think after soaking they could cook all day on the counter, but I've been wrong before.

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    1. That's a great idea, Shannon. I'm sure that would work.

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    2. i haven't had luck with dried beans in a crock pot, and i have bad luck with dried beans in general in utah--sometimes they cook all day without softening. is it the beans? is it the altitude? do beans hate me? because i love them, especially black beans. i've been thinking about buying a pressure cooker for just this purpose. i'm definitely going to try this recipe, julie.

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    3. Lara, what has really made a difference for me is to bring them to a boil before you soak them overnight. My mom also told me that older beans take longer to cook, but how does one tell an older bean from a newer bean?

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    4. Beans used to be a major headache for me, too. I would NEVER use dried beans because they never softened. One day I came across instructions for cooking beans on providentliving.org and I haven't had a single problem cooking beans of any kind ever since. I can even start them around noon and have them ready by dinnertime. You do bring them to a boil before you let them soak, but they only need to soak an hour or two. Once you start soaking them, you can't put them in cool water again until they are soft. After pouring out the water they soaked in, bring the cooking water back up to a boil before adding the beans to it. Some places will tell you that adding salt before they're soft will keep them hard, but that is not true cooking them this way. I usually add a little salt during cooking for flavor. If you run low on water, bring any additional water to a boil before you add it. My black beans usually go from hard dry to ready to eat in 3-4 hours total (including the soaking time) on the stove. Larger beans may take an extra hour or so. Crock pot beans do take a good part of the day after soaking. I don't do them that way as often, so I'm still figuring that process out. Good luck! Thanks again for the recipe- we're having it tonight!

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    5. Oh, I forgot- you can pressure can dry beans and water in a canning jar and they'll be soft whenever you open the jar- even old beans. My mom keeps a bunch on her shelf that way. I don't usually have enough jars for that. I just cook extra when I cook them and freeze them in 2 cup increments in a ziploc bag.

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    6. Great info, Shannon. Thanks!

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  3. This sounds like how I make my black beans too! If you end up without a ham bone, there is a liquid smoke extract type thing that I bought at the super market, and I just add 1 tablespoon of that. It does make the kids go fishing looking for ham chunks, but on the other hand there is no cholesterol, nor anything offensive if I'm serving a devout vegetarian, for example.

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    1. I like that idea!. Thanks KelliSue.

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