When you think or ask about black beans people say “what can I tell you, they are black” but many people are unaware of their history or taste and even what to do with them. Steeped in history the black bean goes back to the Incas when it was used as part of their staple diet and is still used as such by the modern native American Indians not to mention the Caribbean cooking.
In the mid 19th century the Mexican authorities captured 176 vigilantes and these prisoners were made to decide who was to live or die by drawing of black beans from a jar, there were 17 who unfortunately were shot, at the Hacienda del Salado, so the black bean lottery legend was born, similarly the black balling of members at various clubs.
The black bean suprisingly has a cream coloured flesh that is tender, sweet and chunky, described by others as being mildly earthy, but tasting like a sweet mushroom. Sold in the U.K. as Black kidney beans, they are also known as Purtle or black turtle beans, Mexican blacks, black Spanish beans, Tampico beans and Venezuelan beans, the health benefits show that they help ward offheart disease, cholesterol and stop blood sugar levels rising rapidly, as they are known to contain folate, vitamin B6, fibre, magnesium and linolenic acid. Sadly the townies tend not to take in much in the way of black beans, for most townies tend to buy ready meals or off the shelf processed foods so their intake is restricted, it should also be noted that it is one of the easiest ways to improve diet quality.
If purchasing direct from farms/growers you should wash thoroughly, as the beans are harvested by machine and may include mud and stones, but, black beans sold as soya beans, either dried or in fermented preparations are completely different in use and taste. On the other hand if you grow them yourself so really have the freshest, the problem is what to do with the rest of the plant, which are excellent for mulching, composting or adding to your lasagna gardening.
Now you have thought about the beans I have included a couple of recipes ( whilst it can be said they are vegetarian, there is nothing against the adding of your own favourite ingredients) to give you some of the uses:-
The first one which is :- BLACK BEANS with Rice is also called MORROS y CHRISTIANOS or ARROZ con GRIS.
You will need:-
15.5 ozs or a can of undrained black beans (if using the dried variety soak them overnight)
4 cloves of garlic minced
2.5 cups of water
1 small onion diced
1 cup of extra long grain rice
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp of sugar
1 tspof salt
1 tsp of white wine
2 tsp of olive oil1/2 green pepper diced
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of oregano
1 pinch of black pepper
Oil for garnishing
Heat the oil in a pot over a medium heat and add the onion garlic and green pepper, cooking until tender.
Then mix in the black beans, water, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper and finally the bay leaf by stirring gently.
Add the rice and simmer for 30 minutes, then when you are ready to serve sprinkle over a little olive oil.
The other recipe that follows is to give you someting light to be used as either a main dish (Serves 4)or a little something on the side that will serve six.
BLACK BEAN SALAD.
Forget the fact that most people think salad is only for summer time as this is one to be eaten any time.
You will need:-
15oz black beans (or a can)
15oz artichoke hearts (quartered) approx a can full
15oz of corn (or a can)
3 table spoons of fresh dill (finely chopped)
Red lettuce leaves (for colour) cut into reasonable sized pieces
2 large cloves of garlic(minced)
1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of flaked red pepper (crushed)
Pepper ans salt to be added for taste
Make sure all the vegetables are drained, then add the dill in a bowl (large enough to add the final ingredients). Then add the crushed pepper, garlic, vinegar and oil into a container (for shaking) then shake the jar until the ingredients are well mixed, then toss it with the salad, serving it all on a bed of lettuce.
I realise that you can also make Black bean buritos or the Brazillian dish Feijoada, but I have tried to give you some idea of various alternatives, knowing how healthy the black beans are. You may also find they have a “little go faster” in them.