YUM. Every time I go over to a certain friend’s house, she has the most delicious beans simmering on the stove. The mouth-watering aroma fills her house. However, I never get to see how the process begins. It appears to be a seamless cooking process with no definitive start or finish. A dash of this and that, simmer for a few hours, maybe more, and then taste test. Sprinkle in a bit more of this and a lot more of that, then ¡voila! there are amazing beans to eat. Put them in a taco, mix them with stir fried kale and sausage for a nontraditional breakfast, or eat them solo, piping hot. Finally, after craving them for eons, I emailed her for the recipe. (By “eons” I really mean the extent of this freezing cold on the East Coast that they call winter, instead of appropriately titling it “Arctic Chill.”) Alas, my friend admitted that there was no official “recipe” but gave me a list of suggested ingredients and vague instructions. Trying not to get my hopes up, I went for it, infusing my own sprinkling style into the mix. No measuring spoons or cups used, just instinct. So that’s how the following recipe looks, laundry list style. I won’t be able to recreate exactly what I made today, but I have faith that I (and you) can create delightfully unique but equally delicious Bean Surprise.
Beans (I use the 17-bean mix from TJ’s. Amazing mix at an unbeatable value)
A few yellow onions, finely chopped
Cloves of garlic, minced
Apple or dried apricots
Red chili flakes (or anything you desire for some heat)
Few teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Splash of wine
Chopped chipotle peppers from can (with sauce)
Tomatoes (fire-roasted can version, or a small container of tomato-ey salsa)
Brown sugar and salt, to taste
2) In a large pan, sauté onions and garlic with a little olive oil and all the spices. Mix in carrots/apples/apricots. Let these ingredients simmer together for a couple of minutes.
3) Add beans, (keeping some but not all of the liquid that you boiled/soaked them in) to the onion mixture.
4) In no particular, combine with apple cider vinegar, wine, Worcestershire, and tomatoes.
5) Cover and simmer gently over a stove for 1-2 hours, letting the flavors meld. This does not need to be tended often, just tasted occasionally and seasoned to taste. I added a small teaspoon of brown sugar and a dash of salt towards the end.
6) Let the mixture cook down until there is very little liquid left and it is a thick stew-like concoction. Enjoy served over toast, quinoa, eggs, in tacos, or any other delicious vehicle you can come up with.