You know how I just told you all about those wonderful Rustic Ciabatta Loaves I baked the other day? That bread was deee-lish all on its own. And toasted with a big old dollop of butter melted over the top? Pure bliss I tell you. And guess what guys…today I have another unbelievably tasty topping for you to pile onto a thick toasted hunk of that Ciabatta. Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout. Oh my goodness. Just think about that title….Slow Cooker -Great because it sounds super easy and Black Bean Ragout – well you just know its going to be a spicy, zesty Meatless Monday masterpiece!
I found this gem of a recipe in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. And as with every single recipe I have made from that veritable treasure trove, it was truly fantastic. And even better, sooooo easy. You just throw all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and walk away. About 6 -8 hours later you come back, fiddle around a bit with thickening up the beans if you wish, putting the final touches on the spices and preparing a couple of lovely accompaniments, the cumin crema – who would’ve ever thought sour cream could be so much better by simply adding a bit of cumin – and those addictive lime-pickled red onions – the husband is curious why lime-pickled red onions are not served along with every meal, and you’re golden.
This recipe makes up about 6 cups of Black Bean Ragout, which was enough for several meals for us. Luckily it was very versatile, so we never grew tired of it. We ate it over toasted Rustic Ciabatta bread, we ate it over rice, and I made a couple southwestern style omelets with it for brunch one day. I think it would be a great black bean side dish served along with any Tex Mex favourite. Refreshing and light in the summer, but also easily a hearty, stick to your ribs cold weather comfort dish. All that and very little time and effort on your part. We’ve hit the Black Bean jackpot with this one. You simply must make a big pot of this today!
Slow-Cooker Black Bean Ragout
For the Bean Ragout:
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 pound (455 grams or 2 1/4 cups) dried black beans, rinsed if not already soaked
- 4 ounces chopped green chilis
- 2 Tablespoons (35 grams) tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 9 cups water or unsalted vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
For the Garlicky Toast:
- 1 inch thick slice of bread (such as the ciabatta recipe I just gave you!)
- olive oil
- table salt
- 1 large garlic clove, halved
For the Cumin Crema
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream, crème fraîche, or crema mexicana
For the Lime-Pickled Red Onions
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 medium red onion, finely diced
- table salt
- Cilantro leaves, fresh avocado wedges, cotija cheese crumbles, fresh cherry tomatoes
Put all of the bean ragout ingredients except lime juice in a 6 quart slow-cooker (the slow-cooker doesn’t care how you layer your ingredients). Cover and cook at high setting until beans are very tender, about 3 -6 hours.
Or if you don’t have a slow-cooker, you can do this on stove top. Just place all of the bean ragout ingredients except lime juice in a large pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for approximately 3 hours until the beans are tender.
To make the toasts: Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast the bread under the broiler and as soon as you take it out of the oven, rub it with the raw garlic clove.
To Make the Crema: Stir together 1 teaspoon of ground cumin with sour cream and set aside.
To Make the Pickled Red Onions: Mix the lime juice, onion and a pinch or two of salt in a small dish or mason jar. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use to garnish black-bean ragout.
Once the beans are cooked, stir in the lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste. If the ragout is thinner than you would like, transfer 1 – 2 cups of the cooked beans to a blender and pulse to puree. Return the puree to the ragout and stir to combine. Ladle black beans over the garlicky toasts and sprinkle with chopped cilantro, cumin crema, lime pickled onions and fresh cherry tomatoes. Serve with avocado wedges.
Black Bean Ragout brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )