Monday, July 27, 2009

Anasazi Beans: Spicy & Simple

This method is appropriate for preparing any heirloom or conventional dried beans. Pre- soaking the beans for at least 6 hours will decrease cooking time. I usually put beans in to soak in the early morning; rinse beans and check for small stones before soaking. Store cooked beans in clean glass jars in the fridge; they will keep for several days and can be used to create delicious simple meals in minutes. (This is the real reason for cooking beans ahead of time).

2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup leek, thinly sliced
1- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 bay whole leaf
1-2 dried red chile peppers
2 cups anasazi beans, pre-soaked & drained
5-6 cups fresh water
1 tablespoon mirin rice wine (optional)
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon chile powder (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil and saute leek, celery, carrot and cilantro until fragrant. Add bay leaf, chile pepper, beans and water. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer, cooking on a low flame until beans are tender, about 45 -50 minutes. If needed, add a little more water to pot.

When beans are tender place mirin, miso paste, honey and spices in a small bowl with some cooking liquid from beans; mix well and add to pot. Turn off heat and allow beans to rest for 5 or 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve in pre- heated soup bowls garnished with chopped ripe tomato and cilantro or parsley. A little fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice adds a new dimension to cooked beans.