Sunday, August 2, 2009

Smoky Pinto Beans with Peach Salsa

I usually cook beans in a pressure cooker and I think it’s a good method to use for unseasoned beans.  It’s fast and it saves a lot of energy.  However, when you want to make a full flavored bean dish, slow cooking is the way to go.  It gives the ingredients time to mingle and blend together.
I cooked these beans for 3 hours in a large enameled cast iron pot, cast iron pots, enameled or not, do an excellent job of distributing the heat slowly and evenly.  They’re the perfect choice for a slow cooked meal.
To give these pinto beans a wonderful smoky flavor, I added some Lightlife Tempeh (fake) bacon. I love this product, it contains very little fat, no cholesterol, and no animals have to be injured to make this dinner.   You can find it most natural products stores. 
I served these beans with a garnish of fresh peach salsa (recipe below) and organic corn tortillas.
Slow Cooked Smoky Pinto Beans
Adapted from Frijoles a la Charra - Saveur Magazine
Serves 6 - use organic ingredients whenever possible
1 lb. pinto beans
6 Strips Lightlife tempeh bacon
2 cloves garlic
1-2 Serrano chiles, seeded (I used one, but go for 2 if you can handle the heat)
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
Sort through the beans carefully, removing any broken ones or rocks.  
Rinse the beans in a colander, and put them in a large cast iron pot.  
Add all of the rest of the ingredients except for the cilantro leaves.  
Add 7 cups of filtered water and bring to a boil.  
Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
When the beans are tender, add the cilantro and adjust the salt.
Fresh, homemade salsa tastes about 1000 times better than anything you can buy at the store, and it’s so easy to make.  It also makes an excellent topping for baked potatoes or a salad.
Here’s what you need to make the salsa. 

This is what it should look like when you’re done.  This recipe doesn’t make a lot, it’s meant to be a garnish, so If you want to serve this with chips, double the recipe.

Fresh Peach Salsa

Serves 6 as a garnish - use organic ingredients whenever possible

1-2 serrano chiles (depending on your heat preference)

1/4 onion
1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 avocado
1 peach
Finely chop the onion.
Wearing rubber gloves, remove the seeds from the chili and finely chop it.
Mix the onion and the chili together in a bowl.
Juice the lime and pour it over the onion and chilies and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add salt, finely chopped cilantro leaves, and finely chopped avocado.
Pit, peel and finely chop the peach, and mix it with the rest of the ingredients.
Finely chop the tomatoes and add them last. Mix gently.

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