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Feb 19, 2007 04:39 AM

Do you cook your dried beans with or without smoked meats?

In other words, should I cook the beans alone and then add them to sauteed bacon/onions/garlic, or cook the beans with the bacon from the very begining? Also, does anyone have any great black bean recipes? Thanks.

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  1. I always use a hamhock or leftover ham bone and then take that out and use my other ing. like bacon, I also include a few bay leaves and some whole garlic.
    Husband recently catered a party with non pork eaters and cooked his beans with a smoked turkey leg.

    1. When I make refried beans, I saute bacon and onion in the pot of the pressure cooker then add the beans and water.

      1. Although we're not vegetarian, my family dislikes the dominating flavour of smoked bacon/ham in dried bean dishes. I must admit that I would usually prefer to add the meat. With sufficient spicing, however, the smokey flavour is completely unnecessary. Lots of cumin, coriander, onion, garlic, fresh cilantro, hot peppers etc. provide wonderful flavour to cooked beans or lentils.

        1. I would put the source of fat into the pot early, because many of the flavor esters in onions and celery and some of the herbs are fat soluble, not water soluble. The addition of the fat or oil allows them to render their full flavor. But you could also do that by cooking the beans separately and sauteeing the onions and the like and then combining them. Smoked meats are used in a lot of traditional bean dishes because they were the "low on the hog" foods that the poor got to keep and because they provided both the needed lipid for the diet and a modicum of complementary protein for the beans. But the lipid doesn't have to come from smoked meat. Olive oil can be used, for example. And real lard is great with pinto beans. I sometimes cook butter beans with onions and celery sauteeed in olive oil, water, fresh sage, a bit of bay leaf, and a scraping of lemon zest and a splash of white wine. I got the recipe from a clerk in a Greek market for use with Fasolia gigantes. The more usual Greek recipe includes tomato paste. John Thorne's book "Serious Pig" has some great bean recipes in it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Father Kitchen

            Check for all you ever wanted to know about beans but were afraid to ask. Rancho is THE leading authority on all things bean, including great recipes and trip reports.

          2. I use dried African game meat (sustainably harvested) that has to go in with the beans early--takes just as long to cook and really integrate flavors.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              But are you sure it really came over from Africa? I read a definitive study that proves that all African game meat really came over from Spain, with the Jesuits.

              Sorry, Sam, I couldn't help myself. Email me if you have time:

              1. re: cristina

                Hahahahahaha!!!!! Cristina, priceless! THANK YOU. I just tried to email, but some construction people broke our institute's land line last Saturday just before I got back here (Cali). I sent you a note yesterday on the Acapulco thread. Am taking a day off and will email when the problem gets fixed.