Thursday, January 2, 2014

Black Beans and Oh, Whatever

This article originally published March 10, 2013, but I made the dish again on New Years day, in lieu of collards and black-eyed peas and I used fresh black beans. It was wonderful on a cloudy, mildly chilly day. Okay, I live in South Carolina (it truly wasn't that chilly) and the Gamecocks won the Capital One Bowl. There is no way I could have screwed this up.

Let's go back to March of last year:

I love to eat and I love great food, but I rarely find myself looking forward to my next meal while doing something else.

We have had a very mild winter here in Columbia and we will pay for it during the summer with all the insects, but to me, today was the first true spring day - it felt so, smelt so (without the pollen to come) and I enjoyed the clear skies and 70 degree temps while on the tennis court.

I was enjoying the competition, company and camaraderie, but I couldn't wait to get home and throw a few beef patties on the grill. This type of craving is rare for me.

Arriving at home I realized we had a few side dishes, but something was missing. I love beans with some dishes (rarely) and I had just had black-eyed peas (I know. It's a pea, but similar.) the day before with lunch, but I am not a big bean type guy, even as healthy as they are.

So I am walking through the grocery store and I find myself looking at all these different sauced bean products. Each can is approaching $3.00 a can, the ones I usually buy when I do.

Okay, I've been around the block. I know there is a bean in there somewhere, but do I need to pay another $2.00 because they add or cook (who knows?) them in some sauce?

My eyes start wandering and I see a can of store brand (Publix) reduced sodium black beans - Bingo. 

I come home, light the grill and begin to prepare my beans. This is not fine cuisine (perhaps), but I put the beans in a pot on simmer (I have plenty of time while the burgers grill.). 

While the beans are simmering (low and slow), I add:

  • 1 Healthy Table Spoon of Yellow Mustard
  • 1 Table Spoon of Ketchup
  • 1/2 Table Spoon of Onion Powder
  • 1 Tea Spoon of Sugar
  • 1 Rasped Clove of Garlic
  • 11/2 Table Spoons of Vinegar while Stirring
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

I just cheated by not using any fresh herds or spices; yet, I now have a $4.00 can of beans for about $.99.

And, black beans are kicking with protein, low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and are a great source for Thiamin, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Manganese, as well as Dietary Fiber and Folate.

Grate some cheese or onion over and slap a dollop of sour cream on top. I probably could have let this dish chill, added some fresh tomato along with it's juice, chopped cilantro, my favorite hot pepper and a little water for dipping consistency and had a pretty tasty black bean salsa. 

There are few vegetables I eat or prepare out of the can, but raw bean preparation can be very time consuming. Canned beans lose some value, but will retain great nutritional content. You may want to try some frozen bean products if you have the time.