This is how my brain works. See a photo on Instagram. (The photo above, specifically.) Screenshot it. Think, “I need to figure out how to make that.” Forget the thing. Photo gets buried in others. A few months later, “Oh, yeahhhhhh.”
That’s pretty accurate. And this time, I emailed Collin from (the amazing, locally sourced meal service) Scratch Made and asked him how they make their black bean puree. I loved the way it looked, texturally, and I am always drawn to things similar to it at Alma Cocina Latina and Clavel, for example.
Not only did Collin write me back, but he actually created a recipe for me so that I could recreate it. And I did. The next day. (I was also that kid who wore their new shoes right out of the store. I have no control. Sorry. I just don’t.)
One important note: this recipe calls for dry beans, but I used canned black beans since I had them on hand. I simply cooked them for a shorter time…but still pretty slow (and low), like an hour. And I used ground cumin and coriander.
Please know this: you will want to make these over and over. I know I am already plotting my next batch! They are incredibly creamy, comforting and just make me happy. We need happy right now.
Black Bean Puree
1 lb. dried black beans (Rancho Gordo is my favorite)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, large diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
Palmful of whole cumin seed
Tbsp coriander seed (optional)
Orange peel (2-3 strips with vegetable peeler)
2 bay leaves
A couple splashes of white vinegar
Salt + pepper
Cotija or queso fresco, crumbled
*A note on onions and garlic. Everything. is getting blended so you don’t need to be precise when prepping them. For this reason, we’re also not grinding cumin and coriander seeds.
Soak beans overnight. Transfer beans to a bowl and cover with enough water to allow beans to expand by 50% and still be covered. Beans can be stored in the fridge or on the counter overnight.
Next day, drain water. Rinse beans, strain and set aside. Be on the look-out for little rocks or stones, sometimes they find their way in the bags.
In a pot, add vegetable oil and when it shimmers add in onion. Cook onion until it gets some color and then add in garlic. Once the garlic is mostly toasted add cumin and coriander seeds and stir frequently until spices are fragrant.
Add the beans to the pot and cover with water. Drop in your orange peel and bay leaves. Do not salt (that comes later). Bring beans to a boil and be sure to skim “scum” that floats to the top with a spoon or ladle. Once at a boil, drop heat until beans are just below a simmer.
Bean maintenance: Continue to skim scum while beans are cooking. You also likely need to add water to ensure beans remain submerged during the cooking process. After about 90 minutes of a low simmer, begin checking to see if beans are creamy. Continue cooking until soft but stop short of them bursting.
Once beans are done, let them cool for a bit and then begin transferring to the blender — this may take a few rounds in order to not overcrowd the blender. Add cooked beans to the blender container with a slotted spoon and then add in cooking liquid until beans are 3/4 submerged. Blend until smooth and then continue to blend some more to ensure silky texture. Repeat until all beans are pureed. Pass puree through a chinois if you’re so inclined.Season your beans with salt and pepper and a few splashes of vinegar for acidity. Finish with crumbled cotija or queso fresco.
These are great with rice and braised meats, tacos…or you can just eat them on their own. (Maybe even right out of the container!)