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Archive for September, 2011

firecracker red beans

So much for ¬†reporting all my cooking adventures with the weekly CSA bounty. Time has clearly gotten away from me – which is my excuse for neglecting my blog. I haven’t stopped cooking – but I have stopped regularly taking pictures every step of the way.

In the last few weeks, we entertained Chris’s parents, I visited dear friends for a lovely wedding in¬†Massachusetts, stopped drinking coffee, became hooked on the Hunger Games, etc., etc. I’ve also been cooking.

One of the things in my backlog of recipes may sound strange. The list of ingedients certainly looks all-over-the-place. Onion, ginger and garlic – great, standard. Thyme and fennel… still ok, but with ginger? Mustard and ketchup? Vermouth? Almond butter and brown sugar? It’s like the recipe doesn’t exactly know what flavor profile it’s going for.

However, the author is Mollie Katzen. And I had just about everything in my pantry/ refrigerator. It was a recipe for cheap meal that didn’t require any produce – which was actually a good thing because I’ve been using everything up quickly – that promised to reheat well. And I trust Ms. Katzen… and I’m so happy I did.

The final dish doesn’t look very pretty (Chris said it looked like something partiuclarly unappetizing) but the strange mix of ingredients all meld to create an enticing dish that I found myself craving throughout the week. It was delicious. Sweet, spicy, creamy and nutty… It would be a great think to make with the promise of fall in the air, if you are a little brave.

Also – the recipe list may look long – but a lot of the things are pretty standard spices.

If you don’t trust me, just trust Mollie Katzen.

“Firecracker Red Beans” from Vegetable¬†Heaven, by Mollie Katzen

2 T. olive oile

3 c. minced onion

2 T. minced fresh ginger

2 t. fennel seeds

2 T. minced garlic

1/2 t. allspice

1 t. dried thyme

1 1/2 to 2 t. salt

1 c. dry sherry or vermouth

2 T. prepared mustard (this means the yellow kind)

1/4 c. ketchup

1 t. minced chipotle chiles

1 c. water

1/4 c. almond butter

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 boiling water

About 6 cups cooked small red beans or kidney beans (if using dried, be sure to cook them ahead of time, or use 4 15-oz cans of beans, rinsed well and drained)

wedges of lime

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. When it is hot, add the onion, ginger and fennel seeds, and saute over strong heat for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic, allspice, thyme and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Stir in the sherry or vermouth, mustard, ketchup, minced chipotle and 2 cups water. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Place the almond butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the 2/3 cup boiling water, and mash with a spoon until the mixture becomes uniform. Stir this mixture into the sauce, and cook uncovered over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the beans in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (or an equivalent casserole) and pour in all the sauce. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, still tightly covered, so the beans can continue to absorb the liquid. Serve hot or warm, with rice.

Makes 6 servings

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