This is the time of year when I get a hankering for beans; black turtle beans, white, oval-shaped cannellini beans, deep red kidney beans, brown Swedish beans, ivory white Great Northern Beans, any bean will do! A nearly perfect food, beans are packed with complex carbohydrates that help sustain the body’s energy; fiber, which helps promote fullness and increases regularity, and protein; an important component to building muscles and tissues. Beans are also good sources of iron, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
After grains, beans are the second most important food that fuels the human body. Best of all, when pinched for time, a stash of beans in the pantry is extremely versatile in the kitchen.
Black turtle beans are one of my favorites. Grown here in Maine by Horsepower Farm in Penobscot, the black bean is a native of South America and a staple in many cuisines, including Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Caribbean.
If you’re feeling frugal, I encourage you to try cooking up a batch of dried black beans. Readily available in food coops and health food stores, dried black beans cost less than twenty-five cents a serving, and contain minimal sodium. The whole process, from start to finish, takes six hours, but the actual time spent actively cooking is less than ½ hour.
Soak 2 cups of beans in 8 cups of water for 3 – 4 hours. Drain, cover the beans with 8 cups of water in a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer on low until the beans are tender and just starting to split, about 2 hours. Drain the beans and spread in a shallow pan to cool quickly. Pack into jars or plastic bags and refrigerate or freeze. Two cups of dried black turtle beans yields about 5 cups of cooked beans.
The recipe for Black Bean Burgers is a quick and easy pantry-dish special. Serving the burgers on a bun garnished with guacamole and veggies provides a substantial repast. A black bean burger on shredded cabbage with chopped onion, avocado and salsa is a tasty and satisfying salad. The recipe makes eight burgers, which freeze extremely well for another meal.
PERFECT BLACK BEANS
- 2 cups dry black beans 350 grams
- 8 cups water
- Add 8 cups of water to a large bowl and soak the black beans for 3 hours.
- Drain well. Yield will be just under 4 cups.
- Add the beans to a large pot and cover with 8 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours, until beans are just tender and are starting to split.
- Drain beans.
- Pour into a shallow pan and cool quickly in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Pack into glass jars and store in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.
BLACK BEAN BURGERS
- 3 cups cooked black beans (2 – 15 ounce cans drained)
- ½ cup Emily's Taco Salsa Or your favorite Salsa
- 1 cup tortilla or corn chips crumbs finely ground
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- In the bowl of your food processor or mixer, chop or mash the black beans. Add the salsa, tortilla chips, chopped onion, egg and mayonnaise. Mix until well combined, then add the seasonings, mixing again.
- Spoon into a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Taste the mixture, and if necessary, add more seasonings, sea salt or fresh pepper.
- Divide the mixture into eight portions, each about ½ cup (108 grams). Flatten to make burgers. The burgers may be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the number of burgers that fit comfortably in the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the burgers are nicely browned on both sides and heated through, about 4 minutes per side.
- Toast a whole-wheat bun or bread, top with: guacamole, sprouts, sliced tomato, sliced red onion, cheddar cheese, and / or more salsa.