For about half a year, a bag of dried black beans lived in one of our cupboards. Dried legumes, you know what they’re like – they don’t really bother anyone, but they don’t contribute, either. They’re just there, until someone decides to use them, which is usually never. This particular bag of dried legumes was once acquired for a Cuban-style dinner party, but was then deemed unsuitable at the last minute, after which they were sort of, you know, forgotten. This is OK, because dried legumes would survive a nuclear war, and they’d actually make for really good emergency food in case of an apocalypse or a particularly snowy winter.
Blenderman wasn’t for having it though. “They’ll go off”, he complained, “if we don’t use them, we’ll have to bin them”. I tried to convince him that that’s not how dried legumes work, but there was no changing his mind. So one night, after dinner, I heard him scuffling about in the kitchen, and there he was, chucking a full kilo of these motherfuckers in water, to soak overnight. “Here, now we’ll be forced to use them!”, he beamed at me, triumphantly.
Right. Except that you’re about to leave on a 4 day trip, so really, I’ll be forced to use them. Thanks man.
I later read that you don’t even necessarily need to soak black beans – you can just boil them for longer, and they’ll still be OK. This information made the whole venture seem even more pointless and stupid. It was OK though, because I discovered that black beans are delicious so it was worth the effort. In the end, I froze about half, then settled for a black bean and chicken chilli to use the rest. A friend and I had been to a barbecue and we’d come home with about a kilo of left-over grilled chicken wings, which worked really well with the beans. Give this a shot. Just don’t soak all of your beans in one go – 400 grammes will do.
- 400 gr of black beans
- half a kilo of grilled chicken wings, meat removed from the bones. If you don’t have any leftover chicken, use whatever you like – even breast is OK
- 1 big onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 peppers (I used one red, one yellow)
- one tin of chopped tomatoes, or half a kilo of fresh
- some tabasco, some ground coriander, some smoked paprika
- some fresh coriander, to serve
- enough rice for 4 people – I don’t know how much that would be
First of all, soak your beans overnight, then boil them for about 2.5 hours, or don’t soak them and boil them for about 3 hours. Really, that long, but they’ll be totally delicious! Pop them in a pot, add a glass of water, a peeled and halved onion, two cloves of garlic and a small dash of tabasco.
In a separate pot, gently fry your onion and your garlic, both of which you’ve chopped finely. Once they’re starting to go pretty soft and aromatic, add the peppers. Leave for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the tomatoes and the grilled chicken meat. If you’re using fresh chicken, add it to the garlic and onion before adding the peppers.
Stew all the ingredients in the tomato sauce together. Add the spices (to taste), salt, and possibly a little bit of sugar if the tomatoes are one the sour side.
Now chuck in the beans. Remove the onion and the garlic, if they’re still intact, then just chuck the beans in with the chicken and mix it all up. Taste for salt, spiciness and everything, then serve with white rice.