Friday nights at my home are reserved for chillaxing! We like curling up on the couch with a drink, a cozy meal and lots of TV. Lately it’s been catching up on American Horror Story but I digress. Earlier this week I was inspired by a chef on TV gushing about her mothers black bean stew. I thought…YUM! So I created my own version for our Friday night chill-fest chock full of savory sausage, sweet bell peppers and corn and you guessed it…garlic. It was so yummy we had it for brunch the next day. Soups on!!
- 1 lb of dried black beans (cooked) or 4 cans of black beans
- 1 lb of Italian sausage
- 1 red bell pepper
- 8 oz of frozen corn
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 6 oz. queso fresco
- cilantro for garnish
- 1 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
- Slice the bell pepper in half and remove the seeds, ribs and stem. Dice the bell pepper.
- Coarsely chop the cilantro and set aside.
- Crumble the queso.
- If you’re using the canned beans, heat them in a large pot canning juices and all. If you started with dried beans start this part of the recipe once the beans are done cooking. Using an immersion blender, partially puree the beans leaving some whole for texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a potato masher to mash some of the beans. This will make the stew thick and creamy.
- Brown the sausage in the skillet crumbling it while it cooks. Once cooked, add the sausage to the beans leaving the fat in the pan.
- Add the onion to the skillet and cook until it begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic, corn and bell pepper. Sauté the veggies for 3 – 4 minutes and add to the beans.
- Add cumin and season the stew with salt and pepper.
- Bring the stew to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes to combine the flavors.
- Serve the stew while hot. Top with queso fresco, cilantro and enjoy!
- I served this stew over rice but it’s just as yummy on it’s own. We had so much left over; it made an appearance at brunch the next day. It was FABULOUS topped with a fried egg.
- Change it up!
- For those of you who don’t like cilantro, try parsley instead.
- Use cheddar cheese if you can’t get queso fresco. It works just as well.
- I used Italian sausage here but any sausage would really work. Turkey sausage, chorizo, or even kielbasa. Just cook it according to the instructions on the package and toss it in.
Note on dried beans - Working with dried beans is a cinch! They’re a fraction of the cost of canned beans not to mention free of preservatives and salt. They keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. They also freeze beautifully. So why don’t more people make they’re beans fresh instead of buying canned? Time. Dried beans require soaking. Generally 6 – 8 hours worth. Don’t let that deter you! Soak them overnight in a large pot the night before and they’re ready to go the next day. Once soaked, drain them and add 6 cups of fresh water to the pot. Bring the beans to a simmer, cover and cook until they’re tender (approx. 1 ½ – 2 hours). Some beans require less time; some require more just depending on the variety. Check the instructions on the package for approximate cooking instructions. If you don’t’ have 6 – 8 hours, add 6 cups of water to the beans, bring them to a boil, cook them for 2 minutes and then take them off the heat. Let them sit for an hour and voila…soaked beans. You can also add a few things to flavor up the beans: a little onion, a bay leaf or few sprigs of fresh thyme, a bit of chopped celery or carrot and of course…garlic. Any combination of any of whatever you have on hand works to add a bit more yumminess to the beans. Now get cooking!!