Monday, May 5, 2008

Grassroots recipe #2: Fat Nic's Vegan Friendly Beans

From Nic Romano, a social worker friend and guitar hero fan from Baltimore:

Fat Nic's Vegan Friendly Beans & (rice, cornbread, whatever...)

Here's a good cheap recipe that always serves me well. It's cheap, simple, and very adaptable to anyone's tastes. Fresh herbs and veggies really make it good, but a little goes a long way. The following is how I like to do it.

2lbs of dry beans (black beans, red beans, pinto beans, jumping beans, whatever you like, it doesn't matter)
1 medium sized onion- strong, diced
2 bell peppers, also diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup diced celery
2 finely diced jalepeno peppers.
Fresh basil, minced fresh thyme
Salt & pepper
anything else you think might be good
Lots of olive oil
A big pot

First, soak your beans. My room mate once tried to make chili with dry beans, and threw them into the crock pot straight out of the bag. Some of us just have to learn the hard way. Soak them overnight in cool water, but generally 4-6 hours should do the trick.

The trick to making this 100% veggie style is to make a flavorful vegetable broth first. To do this put about 2 tbsp. olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add the diced/minced garlic, celery & onion. swish it around so the veggies get a nice even coating of oil. Turn the heat on low, and sprinkle some salt on top of the veggies. Stir them around a little bit so they heat evenly. Put the lid on the pot, and play a song or two on guitar hero. check your veggies. When they are starting to get transluscent, turn the heat off, and add a few more tbsp. of olive oil.

Now add the peppers, mushrooms, and fresh herbs. Crank up the heat, and salt the veggies some more. Stir them around a bit, you may need to add some more olive oil, 'cuz the shrooms will soak up alot of it (for everyone who thinks adding salt is bad, the point of this is to draw out any moisture in the veggies when they cook down, so the flavors will concentrate).

Cut the heat down a little bit, and go play some more guitar hero. Seriously, this game rules. Check on the veggies, stirring them between songs. When the shrooms have shrunk, and the peppers are starting to get soft, cut back the heat and add about 2 cups of water (at this point, sometimes I put a little bit of miso or some kumbo seaweed into the pot).

Put the heat on low, season it up to your tastes, and let it cook down a little, about 20 minutes or so. By this point you've probably gotten yourself pretty addicted to guitar hero.

After 20 minutes, turn the heat off, and stir the mixture around. It should resemble a deliciously fragrant mushy goo. Season to taste.

Drain your soaking beans, and dump them in the pot. Don't rinse them off. Thoroughly mix the beans into the fragrant goo. Add about 2-4 cups of water. Put the heat on low, stir, put the lid on, and walk away. By now you probably want to finish guitar hero career mode anyway. The beans will take about 2-3 hours to cook all the way.

It is a good idea to check on the pot and give it a good stir every now and then. When the beans are tender, take the lid off, crank up the stove, and let it boil for a good 10-15 minutes. This will take care of any excess moisture. Now your beans are done, and you can eat them over top of rice or whatever you like your beans on.

Should feed a small army.

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