Sarah and I have been eating tacos with these shiny black beans, queso fresco and a fresh tomato salsa. All winter I ate black beans in a bowl with just a spoon and fresh herbs to top them, but I love this summery incarnation. The salsa tastes so bright (recipe soon), made with ripe new season Murray Bridge tomatoes, fresh coriander, roasted capsicum and toasted fennel and coriander seeds.
Last Wednesday we were talking menu ideas for Christmas parties and finalising the calendars, but we pushed the cookbooks and laptops aside to bite into soft tortillas. The queso melting into rich black beans, the tacos were so messy at the table. I think now that the hot days are here (on and off in this springtime Melbourne, today is cold!) it feels right to be messy and ridiculous at the table.
Frijoles Negros (black beans)
recipe from chef Sean Anderson
500g black beans, soaked overnight
2 onions, diced finely
1 leek, chopped finely
2 celery stalks, diced finely
7 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
3 chipotle chilies, diced and 1 tbsp of adobo sauce (from the can is perfect)
2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp salt (or more to taste)
2 limes, (or lemons) juiced
1 onion, chopped super-fine
3 roasted capsicum (from a jar is fine), chopped finely
1 red capsicum, chopped finely
4 sprigs spring onion, chopped finely
Rinse soaked black beans, and discard water. Fill a large pot with fresh cold water and the beans. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour, or until the beans are soft. Turn off the heat and leave beans in the cooking liquid. Do this a day ahead.
In a heavy bottomed pot, fry the onions, leeks, celery and garlic until golden and translucent. Add the cumin and coriander and fry a little more. Add the chipotle chili and adobo – the chili fumes should get all up in your face here. Cook this until a paste forms, it’s okay if it gets a bit stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add tomatoes and cook until they break down. Add black beans and half the reserved cooking liquid and cook over low heat until the desired consistency, about an hour and a half. Add a little more liquid over time if it gets too dry.
When ready, add the sugar, paprika, salt, and stir. Add the lime juice and the finely chopped fresh ingredients. This makes a huge pot of beans, but they freeze well, and keep in the fridge for over a week.
(This recipe first published in Yen Magazine issue #52)