a tale of black beans

i still owe you a few final recipes from our latino-themed party last month - two black bean dishes. these were both very delicious and i will definitely be making them again. the recipe for the spicy black bean chipotle dip (pictured above) came from matt bites. the frijoles (pictured below) were based on a recipe from thomasina miers.

the recipes use very similar ingredients but the resulting flavours vary enormously. the black bean chipotle dip had a rich smokiness from the chilli and spices. the frijoles are simultaneously milder and richer – there is less of a spicy backdrop which means the bean flavours really shine through, which is emphasised by the richness that the butter adds.

i struggle to say which i prefer – i think they are very different and would happily make both and mix and match. david definitely preferred the chipotle version, probably because it wasn’t quite so “beany.” if you try them, let me know what you think.

matt’s spicy black bean chipotle dip (makes c750g)

two 400g tins of black beans (1 tin drained, 1 tin undrained)

1 whole chipotle in adobo plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce**

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

150g chopped onion

150g pork or vegetarian chorizo (i omitted this completely)

2 teaspoons cumin powder*

1 teaspoon coriander powder*

2 teaspoons oregano (i used dried)

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

place the contents of then undrained tin of black beans into a food processor with the chipotle and adobo sauce**. heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan and cook the onion until it softens, about 5 minutes. add all spices and garlic to the onions and cook for another minute until fragrant. remove from heat and add onion spice mixture to the food processor. blitz until smooth.

if you are adding the chorizo, heat the remaining oil in the same pan and cook the chorizo until it is slightly crispy. add the pureed bean mixture, the remaining can of black beans and 120ml water to the pan, stir to combine and cook over a medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. can be served cold or at room temperature. garnish with coriander or lime wedges.

* i used whole spices which i toasted and then ground to a powder

** i used a dried chipotle chilli which i reconstituted using boiling water, plus a tablespoon of the cool chile company chipotle in adobo sauce

frijoles* serves 4

50g butter

1 small white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

½ a red chilli, finely chopped

400g cooked black beans (i used a tin which i drained and rinsed)

1 tablespoon chopped coriander stems (use the leaves for something else)

to serve:  crumbled chorizo or grated lancashire cheese

melt the butter and add the onion. cook until softened then add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute. put the beans plus a glug of water into the food processor. add the onion mix and coriander stems. blitz until smooth, season and place in a serving bowl.  serve at room temperature with finely chopped shallots, a garnish of coriander and a crumbling of chorizo or lancashire cheese.

* the starting point for this was a thomasina miers recipe which i found online but half the ingredients weren’t referred to in the method so i had to work it out for myself. i have no idea if this is how the recipe was meant to work but it tasted good so i’m happy.