Black beans. Tabasco sauce. Jalapeno pepper. Italian seasoning. Orange juice. These are some of the elements that were called for in my new recipe for Spicy Black Beans. I wondered how this combination would work. (Orange juice in a bean recipe? Didn’t seem right.)
But out in our garden, our lone jalapeno plant is in its post-summer flourish. Ever since the temps have begun to diminish, all the pepper plants (Bell peppers as well) are showing off—as though they’re saying, “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo, you can’t kill us, you ole nasty Summer Heat Wave.” Although a few short weeks ago they looked withered as a limp dish rag, they’ve returned with a fresh wind for fall. Good thing, since the fall pepper crop is where we get our green pepper supply for the next year as we chop and freeze what appears on the plants.
So I wandered out to the pepper rows, plucked a shiny new jalapeno, brought it in, and got to work on Spicy Black Beans, which are featured in the Chickasaw cookbook, “Celebrating a Healthy Harvest.” Besides being an excellent source of fiber, beans also provide iron, zinc, folate, and calcium.
The night before, Hubby had put a package of black beans on to soak, so early the next morning he brought out a ham hock from the freezer and let the beans cook on low for about three hours so he’d have three cups cooked beans ready for me when I started my recipe.
I’m not here to tell you that I now can explain how some of these disparate ingredients blended together for a hugely tasty bean dish; I just know that they did. I served the beans over cooked, whole-grain rice with cheese on top. The aroma of the beans cooking personified a fall day.
We looked on it as a great way to celebrate our pepper plants hanging in there by their toenails until the searing heat passed and a little hint of fall could infiltrate our remaining garden rows.
Spicy Black Beans
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red Bell pepper, chopped
1 green Bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin (optional)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or just oregano)
3 cups cooked black beans (drained)
1 large can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, peppers, garlic, cumin, jalapeno, and Italian seasoning; sauté until vegetables are soft. Add beans and stir until some break apart and become pasty. Stir beans, tomatoes, orange juice, and Tabasco into the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes while you stir frequently until mixture becomes a thick sauce. Serve over rice or pasta. Makes 4 servings.