Saturday, October 18, 2008

Black beans

I inherited a stockpile of food from my brother: noodles and dried beans, fish sauce and rice vinegar, sesame oil and popcorn, canned green beans and canned tomatoes, a shopping bag full of exotic spices — and a whole case of canned black beans.

Black beans? I’d never cooked with black beans.

Larissa came with me to the grocery store last week. When they were little, all three of my children played with a computer in the store, a computer near the meats where you type in a keyword and it provides a recipe using that item. Larissa suggested finding a recipe for – what else? – black beans.

This is what came up on the screen:

* * * * * * *
Black Bean Chili

1.5 lb. boneless pork, cut into 1/2–inch cubes
two 14.5-oz. cans black beans, drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
one 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, do NOT drain
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt to taste
sour cream and shredded Cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients except garnishes in 3.5-quart slower cooker. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 7 to 8 hours.

Garnish individual bowls with sour cream and Cheddar cheese, if desired.

Serves 4 to 6.

* * * * * * *

Sounded good. Since we had all the ingredients but the pork at home, we printed out the recipe and bought the pork. I assigned cooking “class” to Larissa the next morning.

“Looks like a salad,” commented Jacob when all the ingredients were in the crock pot.

By suppertime, the “salad” had cooked down into a fragrant chili.

While we waited for George to come home from work, a neighbor came by to greet me as I worked on my new garden – a Greg memorial garden using hostas from my deceased brother's gardens – in the front yard. As she strolled up to me, George arrived home. Since the neighbor, a nurse, lives alone and was just coming home from work, I invited her in for chili dinner.

The chili was delicious! That recipe is a keeper.

I no longer wonder what I’ll do with a case of black beans.

No comments:

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)