Black beans are a delicious and frugal way to add more protein to your family’s diet. They require very little effort to make just a little planing ahead. As a child I rarely would eat black beans, I was a pinto bean girl and nothing was going to change that. Then a few summers ago I spent three weeks living with a family in La Antigua, Guatemala going to Spanish language school. Refried black beans were a frequent part of our meals. Never once was their a pinto beans in sight. To my surprise I loved them! Since then I have been cooking with more black than pinto beans. When talking to some of my girls I discovered that the pinto beans and flour tortillas we all consider as staples of Mexican food are more of a northern Mexico thing. In southern Mexico corn tortillas and black beans are staples in the locals’ diets.
Black beans are high in protein, fiber, vitamin B, antioxidants, folate (a natural source of vitamin B9), and many more vitamins and minerals. When eaten with brown rice they form a complete protein. Unfortunately they are surrounded in phytic acid, as are all grains and legumes. Phytic acid is an enzyme inhibitor. When untreated the acid can combine with zinc, cooper, calcium and magnesium in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. Over time this can lead to multiple health problems and allergies. The solution? Soaking your beans in an acid medium for 12 to 24 hours. Soaking grains and legumes is a practice that was done by our ancestors for centuries. What is an acid medium you might ask? An acid medium breaks down and neutralizes the phytic acid, allowing your body to absorb all those amazing nutrients! You can use kefir, cultured yogurt, whey, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. When baking I prefer to use kefir but for soaking beans I use whey, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. It may seem to more time consuming but really it just takes some thinking ahead.
Refried Black Beans
Two cups dried black beans
Enough water to cover the beans
2 TBS acid medium (whey, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)
I combine all three ingredients and let them soak in my crock pot for 12 to 24 hours. Once the soaking is finished pour the water off and rinse the beans. Put the beans back in the crock pot and add:
6 cups of water
1 onions diced
6 cloves of garlic
1 jalapenos, stem removed
Cook on high for 4 to 8 hours until the beans are soft. Check occasionally as the water may evaporate causing the beans to burn. If necessary add more water. Add salt to taste. Be sure not to add salt until the beans are completely cooked other wise the cooking process will be stopped and you will be stuck with hard beans. This will make approximately eight cups of cooked beans.
Now you get to refry the beans. You are actually one going to be frying them once. In a skillet (I use cast iron) heat 2 TBS of butter on medium heat. If you want to have a little extra spice to your dish quarter a fresh jalapeno and fry in the butter until the skin starts to get a little white. Add your black beans and about 1/3 of the bean water. Bring the beans to a boil and cook for ten minutes. Turn the burner off and smash your beans with a fork or a potato masher. If the beans are too dry you can always add more bean water.
Well here’s your first part of the Nourishing Mexican Fiesta stay tuned for guacamole, chicken fajitas, cortido, whole wheat tortillas and salsa.