Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How To: Creamy-Dreamy Saucy Beans

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This is not Soup!
For Michelle.

I blog for all sorts of reasons, but my top three motivators are because I love to share and obsess over food, to showcase how delicious and easy vegan eating is, and because I use this site as a bookmark for my favorite recipes. With that in mind, here's another bean recipe! Toot toot!

I posted a picture of this meal on Instagram and was asked how I got the beans so creamy, and someone else on FB thought this was a picture of soup! It occurred to me that I learned how to really enjoy and appreciate beans cooked in this style from living in New Orleans. The next closest thing to beans this texture would be refritos, but still these are different. They're not perfectly smooth, more like creamy-dreamy, very soft, whole beans, floating in a gravy of refried beans. Anyway, it's hard to describe beans, without sounding gross. These are fabulous, and really the only way I ever want to eat a plate of beans. Trust.

Saucy, Chipotle black beans, GF cornbread and steamed kale.
Besides sharing another delicous bean recipe, the real point of this post is to explain how to cook-down almost any sort of whole dry bean, into a a creamy pot of yum. I cook mine in my beloved Instant Pot, and since a few folks have asked, I'm giving detailed directions for this method.

I'm also giving stovetop directions, although they'll take quite a bit of time and you'll have to stick around the kitchen for a long time to make sure the beans don't run out of water. If you have a crockpot or slow cooker, that's the next best thing, so you're not stuck babysitting beans all day.

tofu vegan gluten-free crispy stir-fry protein
Saucy Chipotle Black Beans
Makes about 4-5 cups
Before you start, please read through the notes and recipe below!

While the method for these beans is very similar to my New Orleans style beans, the chipotle and OJ make them taste quite different. They're great as a main with a couple of southern sides, or you can use them the next day (after they've thickened up) to fill pupusas, enchilads, or grilled tacos. The orange juice is really subtle--it mostly just balances the heat from the smoked jalapenos (chipotles).

Feel free to use this method to cook pintos, red beans, white beans, dry limas/butterbeans, and black beans (you'll want to season according to the sort of bean you're cooking).

I think beans are easiest to cook if they're soaked overnight in lots of cold water. However, you can also quick soak them, but it's not the easiest to get creamy beans this way on the stove. Put the dry beans in a large bowl, cover with lots of boiling water and cover. Let sit for at least an hour. Drain and rinse.

Remember that any acid added will keep the beans from tenderizing. Be sure to add the OJ and adobo sauce at the end of the cooking time, after the beans are already soft.

What You Need:
❤ 2 tablespoons evoo
❤ 1/2 onion, diced finely
❤ 1 stalk celery, diced
❤ 1 small sweet bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), diced (about 3/4 cup)
❤ a small handful of fresh oregano, minced
❤ 1 bay leaf
❤ 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
❤ 4 garlic cloves, minced
❤ 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
❤ 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
❤ 2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight and drained
❤ 3 cups water, plus more if needed
❤ 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
❤ Chipotle en adobo, to taste (check brands, many contain wheat!)
❤ 1/3 - 1/2 cup orange juice

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Directions:
In your Instant Pot, heat the olive oil on the Saute setting and add the onion, celery, red pepper, oregano, bay leaf and salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown. 

Add the garlic, chili powder, and paprika, and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes. 

Add the beans, 3 cups of water, and liquid smoke. Cover and lock the lid of the pressure cooker, close the vent and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. The beans should be very soft with quite a bit of liquid on top.

Leave the beans on the warm setting until you're ready to give them about 20 minutes of near constant attention. Take the lid off and bring the beans to a steady, full simmer (I use the bean/chili setting--watch for splashes). Stir often. Stir, stir, stir. Stir, occasionally mashing a spoonful of beans against the side of the pot, until the water has reduced and turned into a thick, creamy gravy.

Add the orange juice and a few spoonfuls of adobo sauce (and a chile if you like spicy beans), to taste. Cook for another few minutes, stirring often. When the beans are quite thick, but saucy, and very spoonable, season to taste with salt.

Beans thicken as they cool, add a bit of water (or orange juice) to leftovers to thin as necessary.

Stovetop Directions:
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Follow the instructions above, but once you add the beans, cover and simmer until very tender, stirring every once in a awhile. Add more water as necessary to keep the beans submerged and simmering. Depending on your beans, this could take from 2-4 hours. Once the beans are very tender, bring the heat up to a more rapid simmer and follow the directions after the asterisk above.

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Oh how things have changed! But I swear, this is a combo of quick-quick and slow cook, all rolled into one. I hope you've enjoyed my current bean advice!

Thanks for visiting my little crumb of the internet! Come back soon and tell your friends.

xo kittee


  1. Mmm... Beans.... These sound wonderful.

    1. Thanks my bub! Do you have a magickal NOLA style bean recipe hiding in your files?

  2. Did you mean 5 minutes for high pressure? 50 minutes seems way too long.

    1. I meant 50 minutes! Thi is how I always cook beans in this style. You want them very, very soft

  3. Yum! I am interested to try, even though I am skeptical about the orange juice - does it make the beans overly sweet? Still, om nom nom nom nom nom.

    1. You can just leave the OJ out, but it does not make the beans sweet. It balances the heat so you can add lots of chipotle. It's just a hint of flavor--it's only 1/3 cup!

  4. I feel so vanilla with my beans ;) I would never have thought to cook them like this, sounds delicious! Makes a good case for getting a slow cooker, for now I'll have to babysit this pot, thanks for sharing!


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