One of the problems with eating out in the United States, even in such culturally diverse areas New York, is that Middle American culinary sensibilities infect almost everything that comes out of a kitchen. What does that mean for you and me? It means that when you are served fermented black bean sauce in a “Chinese” restaurant, it tastes sweet; it means that the spaghetti you order in an Italian restaurant comes covered with canned sauce; it means that you have to cut raw jalapeno peppers into your “hot” salsa to make it spicy. Yuck.
Well, for those of us who cannot handle the gastronomic mediocrity out on the street, here’s a little something to tide you over at home. It’s been a few years since I’ve been given full reign over a western kitchen, and I am slowly, ever so slowly, rounding my western cooking skills back into shape. I discovered this recipe a few days ago when I was fooling around in the kitchen and was pleased with the result. The flavor is sour and pungent, with just enough spice to keep you awake.
Cooking time: under 20 minutes
You will need:
-12 oz cooked or canned black beans sitting in little bit of the cooking water.
-Two ripe tomatillos. If you can’t handle the pungent flavor of the tomatillos, substitute one of the tomatillos with a tomato.
-one small or medium white onion
-two cloves of garlic
-two to four jalapenos
-two tablespoons of cilantro or parsley
-salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s what you need to do:
Dice the onions and jalapenos and mix them together on your cutting board. Finely chop the tomatillos, set them in a bowl, and mush them with a spoon. Heat up a dollop of oil (corn oil works for me) in a deep saucepan or wok over medium-high heat, and throw in your onion and jalapeno. You’ll need to stir your onions to keep them from burning, though I suggest letting them blacken a little bit on one side for a more rustic and smokey flavor. When you do this, you probably want to turn on the fan over your stove or you might risk choking yourself on the onion and chili smoke. Let this, your base, cook down until the onions begin turning translucent and then throw in your chopped tomatillos. Keep an eye on the tomatillos. You should see them begin to shed water, but not as much as a tomato. If your tomatillos seem a little bit too dry, add a few spoonfuls of water to the pan and stir. After the tomatillos have been cooking for a minute or so, stir in the garlic and let the tomatillos reduce for another minute. Now it’s bean time. Dump in your 12 ounces of beans and cooking liquid and stir the mixture well. When the beans begin to bubble, turn off the stove, spoon in your cilantro or parsley, add a couple pinches of salt and pepper, and fold the mixture once or twice.
Guess what. You’re Done! Enjoy your pungent black beans with warm blue corn tortillas and Columbian farmer’s cheese. Feel free to garnish with more cilantro, some shredded lettuce, and a little bit of lime.
There! A little bit of fluff to tide our blog over.