BLACK BEANS, SMOKED & SPICY
We used these in our October Dinner Show on our Cuban style “meze” plate. They are easy expect require a “soaking” step, so start the day before you need them. Also make extra and freeze them after they are cooked for future uses. Directions here include our method for smoking these beans. Equipment needed for smoking: a disposable pan, cooling rack or grate to hold beans over wood, foil for cover, and a stove-indoor or out. By the way, we use this smoking method for many other ingredients, such as steak, mushrooms, salt, fish, etc.
We cook the brined-soaked beans first in plain water, water that we discard after cooking to remove any impurities that may leach into the water. Then we smoke them while warm, cook them again after smoking to develop more flavor and make a sauce. Since the beans are brined during the soak, the double cooking doesn’t seem to make them mushy or overdone. They hold their shape while developing more flavor. One pound of smoky black beans yields about 12 cups.
- 1 pound black beans, dried, brine-soaked for one day
- 1 cup cherry wood, for dry-smoking the beans
- 3 tablespoons EVOO
- 2 medium onions, yellow, small dice
- 2 red peppers, ribs and seeds removed, small dice,
- 1/2 teaspoon each coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ground
- 1 teaspoon allspice, ground
- 1 tablespoon sweet (NOT smoky) paprika, ground
- 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
- 2-3 cups water
To BRINE-SOAK the 1 pound of black beans, 12-24 hours before you need them put them into a deep container (non-reactive) with 1 gallon water and 3 tablespoons salt. Leave at room temperature or for longer soak, refrigerate until you need them. Drain and rinse them. Place into medium sauce pan and covered with fresh cold water, at least one inch over top of the beans. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer; continue simmering for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Drain, rinse. While still warm, divide beans in half. Smoke only one half of the beans following the smoking step next.
For SMOKING BEANS: NOTE YOU WILL ONLY USE HALF THE AMOUNT OF BEANS, reserving other half for cook step below. Place the dry cherry wood into bottom of foil disposable pan. Place cooling rack over the wood chips. Place brine-soaked beans over the grate. Cover pan with foil except for one corner. Turn on high heat. Wait for the smoke to appear then close foil over corner of pan. Smoke for 2 minutes. Turn off heat. Leave 2 more minutes. A total of 4. TAKE PAN OUTSIDE, uncover side away from you to let smoke escape.
For COOKING BEANS, mix smoked beans with reserved plain cooked beans. In large sauce pan or dutch oven pot, heat oil. Add onions, peppers and season with salt, pepper, coriander. Cook until vegetables are aromatic. Add remaining spices and cook vegetables until golden brown. Add beans, tossing to combine. Add water and cook gently for 25 – 30 minutes, to develop the sauce flavors. Serve with or without liquid.
Note: If desired, you may add vegetable stock or chicken stock in place of water or replace half the water.