Being the Brazilian that I am, I always have beans on my fridge. I make a fresh batch every week and use it in different dishes such as salads, wraps, soups, stews, or the classic duo rice and beans.
Today it is rainy and cold, so I decided to make a vegetarian version of feijoada. However, I did not use anything as a meat substitute. The smokiness comes from the chipotle, and I used Baby Kale instead of collard greens.
Every time you cook beans, you have to first pick them to make sure there are no foreign objects. Then rinse them well, and place them on a container and fill it up with water about 2 to 3 inched over the beans. place it inside the fridge overnight. Now, there is a lot of debate over whether or not to throw out the soaking water. I always do so, and this is what I learned with my mother and grandmothers. According to them, if you keep the soaking water when cooking your beans, whoever eats them will suffer from bloating and gas.
Using a pressure cooker will speed up the cooking process. It only takes 20 minutes. If you never used a pressure cooker please make sure you read the manual and understand how it works and what you are not supposed to do to avoid having the pot explode on you. If you are not using one, your beans will take a little longer to cook but will taste equally delicious. I love using a cast iron pot for cooking beans.
Basic Beans Recipe
4 cups of black beans, washed and soaked in water for 24 hours or pre-cooked unseasoned canned black beans, such as Goya
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 sweet onion, grated in food processor or box grater
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Place beans and bay leaf in a pressure cooker, and add water until the water covers about 1 ½ inch of the beans. Close the pressure cooker and cook it on high until it starts to whistle, then turn it down to medium and let it cook for about 12 minutes.
- Remove pot from the stove and wait for the pot to cool completely, or let it cool under cold running water until the lid is completely cool to touch before you open it. Be very careful because the pot might explode if is still hot.
- In a medium saucepan(if you are not using a pressure cooker start here), add the olive oil, the onions and the garlic and cook it until translucent. Add the beans with the bay leaf, salt and pepper. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or more, so all the flavors blend together and the beans are cooked through.
Chipotle to taste (Depends on how spicy you like, I use 2 or 3 or 1 tbsp of chipotle paste)
1 tbsp raw organic cacao powder
1/2 tbsp oregano
3 cups baby kale
2 Medium tomatoes, or 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 plantains, sliced on the bias then cut into 1 1/2 inches
Coconut Oil Spray (or brush coconut oil in the pan)
Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper to taste
1. Get half of the amount of beans you have at hand and place it in a blender with some of its liquid plus some vegetable stock and blend. Add more vegetable stock, as you see fit to obtain a creamy texture. Blend again.
2. In a medium pot on medium heat add the olive oil, smashed chipotle, cacao powder and tomatoes. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the blended beans, the remainder of the whole beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil, turn down the heat to low medium and let it cook for 20 minutes with the lid on.
4. Add the baby kale, close the lid and let it cook for 5 minutes.
5. While the soup is cooking, place a medium frying pan on high heat. Spray or brush coconut oil on the pan and place the plantains. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip them with a spatula or fork until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan, place them in paper towel and set aside.
6. Serve the soup in a bowl,and place the plantains neatly on top. I like to garnish with micro kale greens for an extra crunch and presentation.