Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Warmth for the Soul: Jacquis Rich Beans

This is a difficult post to write because I am not sure I know how to express how much I love these beans.  In short, Jacquis Rich Beans are an essential part of my life.  My mom has been cooking them for as long as I can remember.  We cooked them together as the first item cooked in my first apartment in DC for my first job out of college.  I have used them to win over the hearts of many bean-haters, and bean-lovers.  I cannot remember a year of my life that I have not eaten these beans.  They really are warmth for the soul, or at least, warmth for my soul.

It brings a smile to my face every time I pull out the recipe.  As a present one year for either my birthday or Christmas (they are close together, so I sometimes have a hard time distinguishing presents from each), my younger sister typed out a bunch of family favorite recipes and put them in a recipe box for me.  I know, it is a really cute gift idea. One in which she stole from me: I had done the same thing for our older sister the year before.  Regardless, it was a very nice gift.  But what really brings a smile to my face is the typos on the cards.  There aren’t really that many, but on Jacquis Rich Beans, one of the ingredients is typed – 2 garlic cloves rinsed.  I am laughing as I write this.  Obviously it’s supposed to read ‘minced’, but the thought of a recipe directing you to rinse a garlic clove tickles my funny bone.

1 lb pink beans, rinsed and checked for stones
1 lb pinto beans, rinsed and checked for stones
14 cups water + hot water as needed
½ onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves minced (not rinsed)

Seasoning Mix:
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices pancetta (I use bacon)*
1 ½ cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves minced
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground red chile*
½ tsp finely ground black pepper

To finish:
1 Tbsp olive oil
Finely ground black pepper, to taste

Place the beans in a large pot, add the water, onion, and garlic.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 1 ½ hours.  Check every 20 minutes to make sure the beans are well covered with water.  If necessary, add hot water in one cup increments.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the pancetta (or bacon) and fry for 3 minutes, until partially cooked.  Let cool, then chop. 

Using the same skillet, fry the onion until it turns a rich brown (add a tsp of olive oil if needed).  Stir in the garlic, turn off heat and set aside.

When the beans are tender, stir in the pancetta (or bacon), the caramelized onion and garlic.  Season with the salt, garlic salt, ground chile and pepper.  Simmer uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the beans are tender.

At this point, we usually eat some of the beans as they are, in a small bowl, knowing that by the next day they will be even better.

Let the beans cool then refrigerate overnight.

To finish the beans:
Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy skillet.  When the oil is almost hot, sprinkle in some finely ground pepper.  Add 1 cup drained beans and 1 cup of the bean cooking liquid and begin mashing.  Do this slowly, allowing the beans to simmer so they will thicken.  Add water if you don’t have enough bean liquid. (When the beans sit overnight they absorb a lot of liquid).  Add at least 4 cups beans and 3 cups liquid, simmering until very thick.  Stir this thick bean base into the remaining beans and simmer, stirring frequently, until the flavors blend and the beans are heated through.

The recipe states “serves 12 to 14”.  I usually make it for myself and eat beans for every meal until they are gone.  I eat burritos, tostadas, make rice and bean bowls, eat them as a side dish or just eat the beans plain. You will notice that beans are part of the next couple posts.  I actually stopped taking pics of my meals because they were all bean-based.

* Note on bacon:  I still have bacon from the pork I purchased from Abundant Life Farms.  Bacon is one of the dominant flavors in this recipe, so high quality bacon is a must.

* Note on ground red chile: I always use Habanero powder from Chile Today-Hot Tamale.  It is the best ground red chile pepper I have found. It is very hot, so if you don't like so much spice, perhaps use less than recommended.

Bon appétit.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha ha. Maybe Colleen had one too many Co's before typing that recipe? This sounds delicious, even if I left the bacon out, but really, who am I kidding? I highly doubt the beans I'm eating are vegetarian!