Thursday, September 17, 2009

Denise's Black Beans

This recipe comes from Once a Month Cooking cookbook by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg (Revised Edition - page 58). It is an easy crock pot meal that you can eat right away or freeze for later use. It is spicy, but quite tasty. I've incorporated my own twists and turns into this recipe, so it is not exactly like the one you find in the book!

1 pound smoke meat (I use smoked pork chops, but sausage also works), cut up
3 15-oz cans black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (I use one large onion)
1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper (I use one large one)
1 1/2 cups chopped celery (I use 3 stalks)
4-5 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves (I'm going to try this with fresh thyme)
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (fresh oregano? I have a lot of that!)
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper (I always add extra)
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (do not leave this out and add extra if you like hot!)
1 chicken bouillon cube (I leave this out - don't like MSG)
5 bay leaves (this adds a unique flavor and is good)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 c. water
(I also add a smokey chipotle hot sauce for extra heat and fresh jalapeno peppers chopped up roughly)

Rice (to serve with beans)
Toppings: salsa, fresh avocado or guacamole, tomato, sour cream, green onion, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except rice and toppings in a Crock-Pot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice and top with desired toppings.

To freeze: cool to room temperature and place in 1 6-cup container (I use a large plastic bag or a large plastic sherbert container.). When preparing to serve, heat to boiling and simmer 15 minutes. Serve over rice with desired toppings.

Serves 6-8 people (depending upon hunger level!)

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