Let me just say – i can cook the hell out of some beans. Black beans, pinto beans, red beans, lentils, mung beans, edamame, chickpeas …. you get the idea. One of the biggest things I’ve learned about cooking is that of course as cheesy as it sounds – the best ingredient is love. I love food, and i love making my guests happy, so when i cook, i just make sure it tastes good to ME and it follows that my guests will feel the love.
I didnt learn how to cook from my mom. My mom is a hell of baker and canner. I grew up in Washington State where we grew alot of our food in the backyard. Nowadays my mom is a full on organic gardener with about 3 acres to play with. Ive shoveled manure, made compost, and done almost everything it takes to take a seed and make it grow. During the harvest season we would take the food we grew and freeze or can alot of the stuff. I know how to can come jams, how to make jelly, how to bake bread, cookies… yum!
But while my mom can bake the hell out of some zucchini bread and makes the best raspberry jam I have ever tasted… ummm… while i was growing up.. she was still learning how to cook. I learned how too cook from my first mentor, a black woman who taught me all of the major ‘soul food’ and Caribbean influenced items: Greens, mac and cheese, jerk chicken, yams, the proper ways to spice things and of course – how to make beans. For a black woman – learning to cook these things properly was and is very important to me.
so here goes. lisa marie’s secret to making the bomb beans. lol.. and really – its nothing at all.
1/2 bag of beans in a big pot (red, pinto or black beans)
Water and chicken broth up to about 1/2 the pot
1 big dried chili pepper
one whole red onion
about 4-5 cloves of garlic
1/2 small can of tomato paste
salt, pepper, cayenne to your own taste. (and this means checking it over and over during the 4 hours to continue to add all of these spices)
handfull of cilantro – chopped and put in right b4 serving.
some grated cheese (also put in at the very end) (not american or cheddar- something yummy like … not american)]
So there is a great bean debate about whether or not you should soak your beans overnight before cooking them. My personal opinion is that unless you seriously only have an hour to make the beans – dont do it! I rinse off my beans a few times, and maybe soak them for about 20 mins, but every time i soak them over night and then rinse them off -its like ALL of the flavor just goes right down the drain. So basically, yes, unless you’ve got about 4 hours to make these beans – just hold off. Many times I make them the day before Ive having guests or if i’m having a marathon cooking day – i put them on first.
Ok – so rinse your beans, put them in the pot and add everything. Bring them to a boil, stir and reduce heat to simmer and just let the yumminess begin! Keep stirring about once every 15-20 mins or so. Check the water adn heat levels, you will probably add water about 2-4 times. If they look like they are starting to stick to the bottom – more water!!! You dont want the beans watery tho – what you want is the fabulous red or black sauce that naturally develops as you are going. Towards the last hour you want to continue to taste the beans to make sure they are soft. Hard beans SUCK. its like bad pasta. If you dont cook it long enough its gross.
at the last minute stir in the cheese (about 1/2 cup) and then throw in the cilantro for some added taste and enjoy!