Monday, October 11, 2010

Dominican Beans over Brazilian Greens

I am recovering from a long and persistent canned food addiction. This is not news, I've admitted it before. But admitting the problem it has been a productive emergence from BPA denial. Now it’s no big deal to set up a bowl of soaking beans overnight and cook them in the morning while I get ready for the day. The taste and texture of home-cooked dried beans is beyond superior to their canned counterparts and I wouldn’t dare insult them now by calling them inconvenient. Can or no can though, they are still the magical fruit and there is no gettig around that.

While I have mastered the chickpea, mung bean and lentil, I am working on others to expand my repertoire. While not much skill is involved, sometimes I am insecure about the texture and “doneness” of my boiling beanies. Some are still kind of hard because I’ve become a nervous nancy about the cook time. Other have been mush because of my experience with the previous outcome. Black beans are pretty easy now, though I tend to undercook them slightly for some reason. Having expanded into my “Mexican/Latina fare” beans, I was finally inspired to try pinto beans.

Pintos were very easy to cook and I came out with a great batch on my first try. Once you cook the beans though, you have to figure out what to do with them. And for some reason, a typical quesadilla wasn’t going to cut it this time. Pintos are great with a little bit of vegan cheese or refried, but I really wanted to try something different. I went searching for a recipe and found a very intriguing one on for Dominican Beans. It served as a great foundation, but I obviously changed it to suit my needs for timeliness and available resources. What I came up with was spectacular. I’ve never had a pinto like this and I don’t know if I’ll be satisfied by another pinto again.

The greens here were a great accompaniment but are only Brazilian because in my recipe meandering I discovered that this is apparently how collards are commonly prepared in Brazil. I would have made them this way anyway (with plenty of garlic) had I not found this out. Greens and garlic...duh. 

Dominican Beans over Brazilian Greens
Makes 2 servings
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


For the Beans
1 c. Pinto beans, cooked or canned if you must
1 c. Bean liquid (from can or from cooking water)
1/2 c. Onion, chopped
2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped
2 T. Organic ketchup
1 T. Distilled white vinegar
1/2 c. Anaheim pepper, chopped (or other green pepper)
1/2 c. Chopped tomato
1 Bay leaf, ground or whole
1/2 tsp. Oregano, ground or crumbled
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
8-10 Cilantro stalks

For the Greens
4-6 Large collard leaves
2 tsp. Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
Salt to taste


For the beans: In a medium bowl, lightly mash the beans so that about half are mashed and half remain whole. Reserve liquid on the side. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Cook onions and garlic, stirring constantly to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn, until onions are soft, about 6-7 minutes.While the onions are cooking, grind the herbs, salt and pepper together or mash in a mortar and pestle until well blended and set aside. Stir ketchup, vinegar, pepper and tomato into sauce pan. Cook until liquid is reduced slighty and increase heat to medium high. Stir in herb mixture, beans and liquid. Bring to a medium boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Tie cilantro stalks together or just group them together by the stem and lay on top of bean mixture, pressing into pan but with the stems still sticking out. Cover pan leaving a small edge uncovered and simmer until liquid has mostly evaporated and mixture has thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Turn heat off and let beans sit another 5-10 minutes on the burner. Remove cilantro and discard.

For the greens: To cut the collards into ribbons, destem each leaf, cut in quarters and lay each piece on top of each other in a neat pile. Roll the leaves from one end to another in a cigar shape and slice thinly from one end to another. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add garlic being VERY careful not to burn. Cook until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute, and add collards. Toss in garlic oil and season with a touch of salt to taste. Cook until collards are just tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve beans over a nice little pile of greens and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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