Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home-made Black Beans

So it's been a long, long time... sorry for my absence but in Singapore it's often just easier to eat out.  And it's so cheap here when you eat at the hawker centers that I don't know if I could cook cheaper.  However, I do know that I can cook healthier and that's what I've started doing.  I've come to the realization that I am, quite simply, far too heavy.  It's making an already bad back very much worse and I don't even want to think what it is doing to my internal organs.  All I know is that I am tired of it and am taking control.  I started by buying organic as much as possible, not eating as much processed foods (I'm no saint though, so don't start thinking I gave them up altogether), and I'm getting back into cooking my own foods (I'm trying to eat as much vegetarian as I can as well).
So the other day, while doing a quick grocery shop (I literally had 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and some ramen noodles in the house), I spotted a bad of dried, organic black beans.  My little brain juices began to flow and I thought... I love black beans, I hate canned food... hm... I can do this!!  So I picked them up, tossed them in the cart and brought them home to sit on my counter for the next 4 or 5 days.  Today, I decided to do something about it.  Here's what I did:

You will need:

*1 bag of black beans (organic or not, up to you)
*2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (you could use white if you like, Balsamic might be nice as well)
*1 white onion, finely chopped
*1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
*1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped (minced really)
*1 teaspoon cajun spice (optional... but I like a little heat)
*1 bay leaf
*2 teaspoons smoked chipotle Tabasco Sauce (also optional but gives a nice smokey flavour)
*1 tablespoon salt
*6 cups water
*(you can add a strip or two of chopped bacon if you want to have a meaty flavour... I didn't and they were delish!)

You will also need a crockpot or slow cooker and a big pot for boiling.

First dump the beans, water, cajun seasoning and salt into a pot and bring to a boil.  Allow them to boil for about 10 minutes or so.

While the beans are boiling, turn your crockpot on high and add the oil, onions, garlic, and Tabasco Sauce, letting them blend together and create a layer of flavour.  They won't cook really but get warm enough to blend the flavours a little.

Add the beans (water and all) and the bay leaf and turn the crockpot to low and allow them to cook away for a good 4 or 5 hours (test the beans to make sure they are the texture you like).

They will keep in the fridge for about a week and in the freezer for about 6 months (so the package says).

Happy Eating!