Posts Tagged ‘black bean salad’

The Once and Future Beans

It only seems fitting that I was scheduled to make Alton’s baked beans now, seeing that I am heading to “Beantown” shortly to (hopefully) run the Boston Marathon. I have recently been plagued with another running-related injury, so I am still unsure as to how my marathon will go. Regardless, we have had our share of protein-loading this past week, in the form of beans.

I’ve only eaten a few baked bean recipes that have really wowed me, while the rest have been overly sweetened, slightly mushy piles of “meh.” As I set out to make them, I assumed Alton’s Good Eats baked beans would fall into the “wow” category, especially after reading the ingredient list.

Ingredients for Alton's baked beans:  Great Northern beans, bacon, onion, Jalapenos, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, vegetable broth, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and Kosher salt.

Ingredients for Alton’s baked beans: Great Northern beans, bacon, onion, jalapeno, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, vegetable broth, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and Kosher salt.

To make Alton’s beans, soak a pound of dried Great Northern beans in water for 6-8 hours, or until the beans split easily. You will want to sort and rinse your beans prior to soaking.

1 lb of dried Great Northern beans.

1 lb of dried Great Northern beans.

Beans, ready to soak.

Beans, ready to soak.

Beans, beginning their soak.

Beans, beginning their soak.

Beans after soaking.

Beans after soaking.

When ready to cook, into a heavy Dutch oven, over medium heat, add a pound of chopped bacon, a chopped onion, and two chopped jalapenos; stir until enough fat has rendered to soften the onion.

Chopped jalapenos and onion in the Dutch oven.

Chopped jalapenos and onion in the Dutch oven.

Bacon, jalapenos, and onion in the Dutch oven.

Bacon, jalapenos, and onion in the Dutch oven.

Onion softened.

Onion softened.

Add 1/4 C T tomato paste, 1/4 C brown sugar, and 1/4 C molasses. The acid in the tomato paste, along with the calcium in the molasses, helps the beans to maintain their structure, rather than breaking down during cooking.

Tomato paste, brown sugar, and molasses added.

Tomato paste, brown sugar, and molasses added.

Meanwhile, drain the beans, reserving their soaking liquid. If your liquid is less than 4 C, top it off with vegetable broth to make 4 C; my soaking liquid was exactly 4 C.

Reserved bean soaking liquid.

Reserved bean soaking liquid.

Once drained, add the beans to the Dutch oven, along with their liquid.

Beans added to Dutch oven.

Beans added to Dutch oven.

Soaking liquid added to beans.

Soaking liquid added to beans.

Finally, add 1/4 t cayenne pepper, 1 t black pepper, and 2 t Kosher salt.

Spices added.

Spices added.

Bring the beans to a boil over high heat, stir, put the lid on, and throw the beans in a 250-degree oven for 6-8 hours, or until tender.

Beans brought to a boil before going in the oven.

Beans brought to a boil before going in the oven.

I began soaking my beans early in the morning, so I could put them in the oven right before I went to bed. Let me tell you… the house smelled so amazing when we woke up. Ted said he woke up at 3 am and almost went down to sample the beans in the middle of the night. Alton’s beans definitely did not disappoint. I am tempted to say that they may be my favorite baked beans of all time. They are also probably the richest, but a pound of bacon’ll do that!

Alton's baked beans.

Alton’s baked beans.

4-7-15 024 The beans were al dente, not overly saucy or sweet, and had a good kick of heat to balance them out. They really were fantastic, and I will definitely be making them again.

Black Bean Salad

The second bean recipe Alton makes in this episode is for black bean salad.

Ingredients for black bean salad:  dried black beans, carrot, celery, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, onion, olive oil, lime juice, red onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, and black pepper.

Ingredients for black bean salad: dried black beans, carrot, celery, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, onion, olive oil, lime juice, red onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, and black pepper.

To make his salad, in a saucepan place 2 C of black beans, a whole half (that’s a bit ironic, isn’t it?) of an onion, and a tied satchel of 1/2 a carrot, 1/2 a celery stalk, some fresh thyme, some parsley, and a bay leaf. I like to think that we are fairly organized since moving, but I could not find my butcher’s twine anywhere, so I had to ditch the satchel idea and play “Go Fish.”

Beans in a pot with carrot, celery, onion, thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf.

Beans in a pot with carrot, celery, onion, thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf.

Barely cover the beans with water, bring them to a simmer, and partially cover.

Water just to cover the beans.

Water just to cover the beans.

Partially covered and left to simmer.

Partially covered and left to simmer.

After 30 minutes, add 2 t of Kosher salt.

Kosher salt added to beans after 30 minutes.

Kosher salt added to beans after 30 minutes.

Continue to cook the beans for an additional 30 – 90 minutes, or until al dente. My beans took a full two hours to be done. I had to add additional water a few times to keep my beans covered.

Beans after cooking for 2 hours.

Beans after cooking for 2 hours.

When the beans are cooked, drain them and remove the onion, carrot, celery, and herbs.

Drained beans in a bowl.

Drained beans in a bowl.

Toss the hot beans with 1/3 C olive oil and 1/3 C lime juice.

Cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, red onion, chili powder, and cumin ready to be added to beans.

Cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, red onion, chili powder, and cumin ready to be added to beans.

Beans tossed with lime juice and olive oil.

Beans tossed with lime juice and olive oil.

Add a small minced red onion, a handful of chopped cilantro, 1 t cumin, and 1 t chili powder. Toss to combine and chill for several hours.

Cilantro and red onion added to beans...

Cilantro and red onion added to beans…

...along with cumin and chili powder.

…along with cumin and chili powder.

Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Salt and pepper added after chilling.

Salt and pepper added after chilling.

Alton's black bean salad.

Alton’s black bean salad.

We ate this salad as a side dish and thought it was pretty good, but not mind-blowing. It would be a good, easy dish to bring to a potluck, but so would the baked beans, and those were so much better.

Turbo Hummus

Alton couldn’t really have a bean episode of Good Eats without including a recipe for hummus, could he? In this case, it was for his Turbo Hummus. I whipped this up when we were both really hungry after a hard workout.

Ingredients for hummus:  garlic, canned garbanzos, creamy peanut butter, parsley, lemon juice and zest, black pepper, Kosher salt, and olive oil. And... a parsley thief.

Ingredients for hummus: garlic, canned garbanzos, creamy peanut butter, parsley, lemon juice and zest, black pepper, Kosher salt, and olive oil. And… a parsley thief.

In a food processor chop 2-3 cloves of garlic; I opted for three and our breath was paying for it later, but it was good at the time.

Garlic into the food processor.

Garlic into the food processor.

Chopped garlic.

Chopped garlic.

To the garlic, add a can of drained garbanzo beans and half of their reserved liquid. Process until smooth.

Beans drained and liquid reserved.

Beans drained and liquid reserved.

Beans into the processor.

Beans into the processor.

Beans processed, along with half of their liquid.

Beans processed, along with half of their liquid.

Add 2-3 T of creamy peanut butter, a handful of parsley, the zest and juice of a lemon, black pepper, and a couple of big pinches of Kosher salt.

Peanut butter, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, black pepper, and Kosher salt added to beans.

Peanut butter, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, black pepper, and Kosher salt added to beans.

Process. Finally, drizzle in 1/3 C olive oil.

Olive oil drizzling into hummus.

Olive oil drizzling into hummus.

Alton's Turbo Hummus.

Alton’s Turbo Hummus.

We ate our hummus with pretzel chips, polishing off half of it pretty quickly. Having made traditional hummus with tahini before, I thought you could taste a difference with the peanut butter. To me, it wasn’t better or worse – just different. This hummus was a bit thinner than I prefer, but the flavor was good, and it was definitely super fast to make. If you’re looking for a super fast snack, this is a good one.