Thursday, August 14, 2014

Black Beans and Rice with Garden Salsa

Can I just say I love this dish!  You know how certain foods and smells are tied into memories and people?  Well whenever I make these beans I think of my Grandma Carlson.  Oh how I wish I could talk to her again.  I'd tell her all about my gluten free discoveries and ask her a million questions.  I was diagnosed after she passed away.  She was an incredible cook!  These beans remind me of her because she loved to cook beans - and she was good at it!  This black bean recipe is hers. 

Another memory from this dish is spending a week in Breckenridge Colorado with my husband's brother's family.  We had such a great time together.  One night my sister-in-law made some beans, put them on rice and then added the salsa on top.  I was a little skeptical at first, but oh how I loved the combination of the flavors!  I also think of them every time I add the salsa on top.  Genius!

Okay, so just a note.  You don't have to use meat in the beans, but you can.  I especially love putting a leftover ham bone in the pot to cook with the beans all day!  By the end of the day it falls off the bone and adds an amazing flavor!

Black Beans

1 lb black beans

The night before you plan to serve them, place beans (rinsed and picked through) in a large pot and add 5-6 cups water.  Cover and soak beans overnight.

Your beans will need to cook the next day for about 6 hours, so plan accordingly.  (I usually start cooking them about noon.)  
The next day, pour out the water and add new water, about 6 cups.  
Then add:
3 large stalks celery, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper - wash, but do not remove the stem, or beans may be too hot
ham, sausage, or bacon (if desired)

Bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer approximately 6 hours until the beans are soft. You'll need to add several more cups of water during the cooking process.  Just before serving, remove the jalapeno and add 1-2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.  (Grandma said do not add salt sooner, or it will harden the beans.  You are okay to add pieces of ham or sausage though.)

Serve over rice, and top with Garden Salsa.

Garden Salsa

1 yellow pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
Combine all ingredients and stir.  

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