From my over stuffed pantry I unearthed 3 packages of dried beans while trying to find 2 packages of the same spaghetti for dinner. To tell you the truth I have no idea how long they have been languishing in there. Months? Years?
The thing about dried beans, ancient in this case I fear, is that they can cook up unevenly, take forever to cook, or never reach that just soft but the least bit mushy texture that I look for. Some say that adding salt or acidic ingredients can hinder the cooking process, other say to bring the water to a boil first then add the beans. I’ve also read that the older the beans the longer the cooking time. There are no shortage of theories here.
All previous theories thrown out the window, because I put them in my trusty CrockPot and they cooked up perfectly. Naturally gluten free and vegan , minimal effort, no presoaking, add any ingredients you have handy, you really can’t go wrong here.
Now, I must admit since this soup was so successful and yummy, I am excited to create something with the other two bags of beans – in the crockpot of course!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium-size red onions, chopped
- 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 16-ounce package dried black beans
- 1/2 of a chili with 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce from chipotle chiles from a can OR
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 7 cups water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish: chopped red or white onion, sliced radishes, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions.
Heat olive oil in large skillet and add onion and peppers, cook until soft and beginning to brown approx. 8 mins.
Add cumin and garlic and cook another minute.
Place in crockpot and add beans, chili in adobo and 7 cups of water.
Set on high and cook 4-6 hours, or until beans are soft, mine were done in 4 hours however different crockpot models vary in their cooking times.
Remove 2 cups of cooked beans and puree in blender then add back to soup in crockpot.
Add lime juice, salt and pepper.
To make the crema topping, add cumin seeds to dry skillet and toast over medium heat until golden brown,
Grind in spice grinder or use a mortal and pestle to coarsely grind, add to crema, sour cream or yogurt and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle into warmed bowls and top with crema, and any of the garnishes you prefer.