Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh, So Not Pretty

I have no idea why I thought, "black beans, feta, and peaches would be interesting together" while I was walking to school in the sleet.  I assume other people have discursive thoughts about their hobbies while they are doing normal people things.   I thought about it for a few days and I eventually made it to the grocery store and came home with the necessary ingredients.

I would do a few things differently if I ever do a repeat performance -- most of them have to do with pan size.  The final product was excellently tasty, but as the title indicates it was not pretty.  I think there is something about black beans that dooms them to be forever unlovely and slightly buglike.  I probably should not have written that last bit.

Anyway, this casserole (its consistency is really more stewlike, but it's baked in a casserole dish) exists at the intersection of spicy, sweet, and savory, which is one of my favorite intersections in the world of cuisine.   The canned peaches could probably be replaced with a half a sweet potato chopped fine -- they bring sweetness and a bit of texture, but mostly are there in the ingredients because it was such a strange idea that I had to try it. 

Black Bean and Peach Stew

1 onion quartered
1 pasilla chili quartered seeds and membranes removed
1 jalapeño likewise
2 cloves of garlic with their skin on
2 cans of black beans, drain one of them
1/2 cup cider
1/4 cup rice
2 canned peach halves diced (canned in juice, not syrup) or an equivalent amount of sliced
1 sliced spicy chicken sausages (optional)
3/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Enough feta

Preheat the oven 350.  Oil a pan suitable for roasting vegetables -- a small baking pan etc.  Place the quartered onions and chilis, as well as the garlic cloves on the sheet.  Bake for an hour.

While you're waiting for the veggies to roast, combine the other ingredients, except the feta in a casserole dish of suitable size.  I did not use a casserole dish of suitable size, because I don't have one here.  This is actually a substantial amount of food, plan accordingly. If that seems like a lot of spice, use less.  I have a wild passion for cumin and coriander and occasionally it gets out of hand for normal people. 

When the veggies come out of the oven, chop everything that can be chopped, and peel and smash the garlic, mix those in to the evolving stew.

Crumble enough feta to cover the top of the stew.  Feta generously for feta is a gracious thing.  Cover the dish, and pop it into the oven, cook it for an hour and fifteen minutes covered.  Uncover for the last twenty or until the feta is toasty and the rice is not crunchy.  (Part of the cooking time reflects the fact that I use brown rice, which takes time.)

I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

Edit to add:  The leftovers reach the height of sublimity when dumped over tater tots.  This is acutely embarrassing, but delicious.  

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