Kountry, as you know I’ve been blessed with eating gourmet fare as well as ordinary fare and I’ve come to enjoy the ordinary fare far more than the gourmet. Don’t get me wrong, and don’t let Himself know, I still adore gourmet food, but there is something soul soothing about ordinary fare.
I recently was presented with what was referred to as “peasant food”. I may in fact be a peasant at heart! This was just delicious, simple and honest fare. Humble and something that makes the most of what you happen to have as far as staples go.
Without any fanfare, I present to you: Brazilian Black Beam Stew! This filling, delicious yet simple to make meal makes your tastebuds smile, your nose quiver with anticipation and soul sing with joy!
There are, of course variations to this recipe, but this is what I was served with some white rice!
Here is what you need:
1 (12 ounce) package dry black beans, soaked overnight (if using canned don’t cook as long)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 smoked ham hocks
8 ounces diced ham
1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon, diced or pork sausage or chicken if you wish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/4 cup freshly grated citrus such as orange zest
Here’s what you do:
Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 3/4 cup of chopped onion, green onions, and garlic; cook and stir until softened, about 4 minutes. Pour in the soaked beans and fill with enough water or orange juice (we had it with orange juice and it was lovely) to cover beans by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 2 hours, or until tender.
While beans are cooking, place ham hocks in smaller pot with 1/4 cup of the chopped onion. Cover with water and simmer, until meat pulls off of the bone easily, about 1 hour. Drain and add to the beans. If you don’t have ham hacks, skip this part but you lose a hair of flavour this way.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place ham, bacon, and remaining onion in a baking dish. Bake 15 minutes or until mixture is crispy. This part isn’t necessary as you can cook your bacon in the microwave and ham tends to be ore cooked already. This really adds a great depth to the flavour though.
Drain the bacon and ham mixture, and add to the beans. Season with coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes more. Stir in chopped cilantro and parsley just before serving. Serve over rice with the citrus zest. You must do this as it brightens the flavours ever so much!