Caribbean Black Beans, etc.

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Tonight’s dinner is Caribbean black beans over brown rice accompanied by cooked chayote and orange-mango chutney.

The beans are an adaptation of a recipe in The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.  The Moosewood Collective’s recipe makes enough to serve an army, so I downsized it a little bit.  My variation is as follows:

Saute half a chopped white onion and a minced clove of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil.  When the onions are soft, add to them one teaspoon of grated fresh ginger and a pinch of dried thyme.  The original recipe calls for allspice, but I did not have any.  Let this mixture saute for another couple of minutes.  Then add one 16 oz can of drained and rinsed black beans to the onion mixture.  (If you want to cook beans from scratch do it by all means.  I take the help whenever I can get it).  Add the juice of one orange.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and reduce the flame to low.  Let the beans simmer for about 7 minutes.

I served this over brown rice.  Again, you can make the rice from scratch while the beans cook, but I just nuked some frozen brown rice.

While the beans were cooking, I cut up a chayote (also known as alligator pear, mirliton, or choko depending on your locale).  I just cooked the pieces in salted water for about 15 minutes.  After draining the pieces, I simply seasoned them with a little salt, cracked pepper, and non-hydrogenated margarine.  (If you’re not watching your cholesterol, then use butter — I would!)

Finally, I had some orange-mango chutney that I made a couple of weeks ago and froze.   I really don’t have a recipe for the chutney.  Basically, I threw into a slow cooker a few peeled and sectioned oranges, a bag of frozen mango chunks, a roughly chopped onion and red bell pepper, and some golden raisins.  I added grated ginger, a few minced garlic cloves, a teaspoon of cardamom, some dried hot pepper flakes, and two cinnamon sticks.  To sweeten it, I put in some agave nectar.  Then I crocked the whole thing for several hours.  Oh, did it smell good!   If you want to make this, you’ll just have to experiment like I did.

So, I am eating this repast while I type this.   The beans have a sweet and sour flavor which I like, but they needed a little zip so I added a dash of  salt and a shot of hot sauce.  I’m thinking that for a non-vegetarian version, some smoked sausage would be a good addition to this.

I’m not going to do anymore cooking for a few days because of various New Year’s festivities involving the consumption of unhealthy food, but I will be studying my books for my next experiment.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Lori G (c) 2009

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