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Sausage, White Bean & Kale Soup

This soup has a hearty rich flavor perfect for a winter evening. Both pork and chicken sausage work well in this recipe.

Ingredients:
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/3 cup white beans
4 cups water
1 teaspoon chicken broth powder
2 sweet Italian sausages, fully cooked
1/2 cup raw chopped kale

In a large pot, saute onion in olive oil. Slice sausages into quarter inch thick slices. Add in the pot and saute until the flesh is slightly browned. Add in the garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add the water and chicken broth powder and bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in the beans and kale. Cook for 5 minutes and serve hot!

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Sweet Potato Stew

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
1 onion
2 c. chicken/vegetable broth
1-2 tbsp. cumin (plus more to taste)
1-2 tbsp. chili powder (plus more to taste)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Chop the sweet potatoes and onions into bite sized pieces. Saute the onions in a large pot in the oil for about 5 minutes, then add in the sweet potatoes. Allow to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes, and then add in the diced tomatoes, broth, and spices. Bring to a boil for a few minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the beans and corn. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Continue to season to taste with salt, pepper, and other spices. Serve with bread or chips.

Hearty Beef Chili

Simple recipe that goes a long, long way.

Ingredients:
2 lbs. ground beef
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 2-lb. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can red kidney beans, drained
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. red wine
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. salt
2-4 tbsp. cumin
2-4 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried oregano

Heat oil in a large pot and saute onions and garlic for about 10 minutes, until translucent. Add in ground beef and cook until fully browned. On low heat, add in tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, basil, oregano, and mustard. Then stir in wine, lemon juice, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and parsley. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes and then add more seasonings to taste. Serve with garlic bread or corn bread and enjoy for days.

Black Bean Burritos

There was not much left in my fridge and I desperately wanted to use the cilantro I (successfully!!!) grew on my balcony. This was the delicious result!

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 c. frozen spinach
1/2 c. salsa
2 tbsp. canola oil
1-2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
Flour tortillas

Chop onion and garlic and saute in oil until soft in a pan. Add spinach and allow it to warm. Drain black beans and add to pan along with salsa. Once warm, stir in cilantro. Heat tortillas in oven and spoon in bean mixture. Top with salsa, cheese, guacamole or other topping of choice. Serve immediately.

 

Loaded Potato Nachos

A twist on regular nachos to spice things up! This recipe serves 4 and may be the best bang for your buck in a long time.

Ingredients:
8 medium potatoes
1 c. shredded cheese
1/2 large onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes (or ~2 large tomatoes, diced)
1 can black beans2-4 tbsp. olive oil
Salsa (of choice)

Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. Spread evenly in a casserole dish and lightly coat with olive oil, stirring until they are evenly covered. Bake on 425 for ~45 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle on half of the cheese. Drain cans of diced tomatoes and beans and spread on top of cheese along with onions. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese evenly over the whole thing. Return to oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese is nicely melted. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and serve with salsa.

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White Bean Dip

A healthy and easy alternative to hummus when you’re straight out of chickpeas or need a change of pace!

Ingredients:
1 can navy beans
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. If too thin, add more beans (without any liquid). Enjoy with pita, chips, vegetables, or bread!

 

Black Bean Soup

Another great soup to warm you up on a cold day!

Ingredients:
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cans black beans
1 can diced tomatoes (with celery, onion, and pepper)
2 c. chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. cumin (plus more to taste)
1-2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

Saute the onions in olive oil a large pot until translucent. Add garlic and cumin and cook for another 30 seconds before adding in broth and 1 can of beans. Remove the pot from the heat and pour contents into a blender; blend for just a few seconds until smoother but still coarse. Return to pot, on medium heat. Add 2 more cans of beans, diced tomatoes, and chili powder (and more cumin to taste). Allow to heat for 5-10 more minutes and then stir in cilantro. Garnish with more cilantro and serve with tortilla chips or bread of choice.

An Authentic Nicaraguan Meal

After a visit to Nicaragua where we were impressed by the food, we decided to try making our own Nicaraguan meal. As a side note, you can get incredibly sweet mangoes for about 5 cents each there! Definitely worth the plane ticket. Anyway, this is a classic Nicaraguan breakfast, but we made it for dinner. The main course is gallo pinto, scrambled eggs, tortillas, and fried plantains. We served the main course with a fruit salad of watermelon, pineapple, and banana, as well as the national cocktail of Nicaragua, macuá.

Gallo Pinto:

Gallo pinto (translated to painted rooster) is a combination of rice and beans, a staple in Nicaragua and much of Central America. The sauce traditionally used to make the dish is called Salsa Lizano, but unfortunately it can rarely be found anywhere outside Central America. We made this dish with Worcestershire sauce instead, which worked surprisingly well, but we will order Salsa Lizano online for our next go at it.

2 cans of beans
4 c. cooked white, long-grain rice
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of cilantro, chopped
5 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce or Salsa Lizano2 tbsp. canola oil

Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in canola oil until soft. Add beans and rice and allow to heat up. Add Worcestershire sauce and cilantro and mix well. Serve with scrambled eggs, tortilla, and fried plantain.

Fried Plantains:

Plantains are hugely abundant in Central America, but much harder to find in the US. Ideally, the plantains will be very ripe – this means that the skin is dark brown. However, we used plantains that were yellow and beginning to turn brown, and the dish was still delicious. We fried these plantains in 2 batches, in a medium-sized frying pan.

2 large, ripe plantains
4 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sugar

Slice the plantains diagonally into disks that are about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly sprinkle sugar on sliced plantain. Pour half the oil into the pan and allow it to heat up on medium heat. Place the plantains into the frying pan and allow to cook for a few minutes on each side. They are done when both sides have a well-done brown color.

Here’s a picture of our main course:

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Macuá:

1 1/2 oz. white rum
2 oz. lemon juice2 oz. guava juice
1 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup

Fill shaker halfway with crushed ice. Pour in all ingredients and shake. Serve over ice.

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