Delicious Food, Part II
OR: I'm not dead yet.
Part I: Mother-in-Law Pizza
By the way, Ringu only has a few hours left to kill me. I'm not worried, though. We had it from Netflix and since we sent it back, it ought to follow the renter's equivalent of copying and passing along. Don't read that last sentence if you hate spoilers. Oh, nevermind, I tagged it.
Cuban-style Black Bean Soup
I got this one from Nigella and barely altered it at all, so if you have How To Eat, just skip this entry and read page 81 (in the American paperback edition).
2.5 cups dried black beans
2 bay leaves
plenty of water (Nigella says 2 quarts; I say, who the hell has a quart measure?)
Sort through the beans and throw away any stones or other gross bits. Put good beans in a large pot with bay leaves and cover with water. You want at least an inch of water above the beans. Bring to a boil, cover partially and turn down the heat, simmer for 1.5 to 2.5 hours, until beans are cooked but not too soft (they should not be falling apart, nor should they hurt your teeth).
While this is happening, assemble the following in a large saute pan or sauce pan:
1 cup olive oil
2 medium-large onions, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 shallots, chopped (these are optional but Will and I both like the soup better with)
Sauté over medium heat until everything is softened and the onions lose their color - about 10 to 15 minutes.
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 T dried cumin (freshly ground if possible)
2 T dried oregano
zest of 1 lime
Continue sautéing for 5 minutes, remove from heat. When cooled, purée in a blender and add to beans (when almost done, as described above).
2 t brown sugar
salt to taste (approx. 1 t)
Cook until the beans are tender (this will take about half an hour depending on how soft you want them). Taste. At this point you can add more salt if you want to, but it shouldn't be necessary.
Add 2 tablespoons sherry.
Note: I have never used the sherry. It can be eliminated altogether, or you can do what I do and substitute any amber liquor you already have at home; I tend to use bourbon, rather predictably.
To serve, chop up a red onion and some fresh cilantro, and quarter a lime (or several, depending on how many people you are serving). Offer these as well as sour cream and a good, flavorful hot sauce (I like Cholula) to your guests/family. Everyone can add the amount of their choosing. I really recommend using all of the toppings, but your tastes may vary. And by the way, this really is a soup for several people; I made it for just Will and myself a week ago and there is still plenty in the fridge. I think this serves about 8 as a main course.
Optional addition for the carnivores: A nice spicy Polish Kielbasa is, according to Will, delightful in this soup. They come pre-cooked, so you need only heat it up. If no vegetarians will be eating, you can add it when you add everything else to the mostly-cooked beans.