Mexican-Style Black Beans

Inspiration:When we have black beans for a side, I always just saute up some onions in a sauce pan and then throw in the beans with plenty of salt and pepper. I love black beans prepared that way, but you know what? One of my favorite little mantras that pops into my head all of the time (from my favorite song of all time - The Best of What’s Around by Dave Matthews Band) is “If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you’re missing all the rest.” Okay, so that’s a little dramatic and ridiculous applied to black beans (ha!) but it’s true, you know? There are always little ruts that I get into all of the time in life. Listening to the same music, reading the same authors, having my places and things that I love and my places and things that I don’t love. And no matter how many new foods we try (a lot!), there are always little ruts that we fall into with certain sides or soups or breakfasts or whatever. But then Dave Matthews sings that little phrase in my head again and I leap for something new. So yes.

What we Loved: These were really a delightful side dish to our Mexican meal. What I loved most was the texture. Since you smash half of the beans in the pan, the texture ends up somewhere between that of regular beans and refried beans. Fabulous! Then there are all of the lovely seasonings, including tomato, onion, garlic, and rich/earthy cumin (which is one of my favorite seasonings, especially with Mexican). There is definitely a lot of flavor going on for such a simple recipe, which is a great contrast to the simple flavors of our normal black beans with onions, salt, and pepper. I also adored the tart squeeze of lime juice and sprinkle of fresh cilantro on top - in my opinion, these are always the perfect and bright finishing touches for nearly any Mexican dish.

Helpful Hints: I think next time I might even smash more of the beans for more of that creamy texture, so I would recommend smashing a bit more than shown in my pictures. That creamy texture is really just wonderful!

Mexican-Style Black Beans
Source: Elly Says Opa

Oil or butter
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chicken stock, more if needed
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Squeeze fresh lime juice
Chopped cilantro

1. Heat a drizzle of oil or a pat of butter in a sauce pan. Add the onion, and cook until softened.

2. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and bay leaf, cooking for an additional minute.

3. Add the beans, and then smash about half of them with the back of a spoon.

4. Stir in the stock, chili powder, cumin, and oregano (adding more than 1/2 cup stock if needed).  Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the stock has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Top with a squeeze of lime juice and fresh cilantro.

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