While I may end up apologizing for too many cabbage recipes, I shall not apologize for too many bean recipes! With the United Nations declaring 2016 The Year of the Pulse, it is exciting to see people discovering (or re-discovering) their love of such a humble nutritious super star.
With the recipes I have shared here alone, you can tell how versatile beans can be. Lately, I have enjoyed trying out a slow cooker to cook beans with delicious results. While I have quite a few types of beans from Rancho Gordo, I must admit I am anxious about messing up their cooking times because they are so fresh. The slow cooker is their preferred way of cooking the beans, and now I understand. With such a long cooking time, the error to turn them into mush is much longer. However, should you try it with a pressure cooker and even 5 minutes extra on high pressure could explode your beans. I get it.
So, when I saw this recipe for Soldadera Beans, a vegan version of cowboy beans as an homage to the women of the Mexican revolution, AND it called for specialty beans in my slow cooker, I was hooked. Pinto beans could also totally work if you haven’t been hooked onto the RG beans yet.
The beans are easy to make, especially if you are able to saute the ingredients in the slow cooker itself. After a long simmer, you have delicious creamy beans spiced with tomatoes, cilantro, with a depth of flavour from the beer. No meat-heavy cowboy beans, as liquid smoke stands in for those flavours. A bit on the brothy side, this was served well with crusty bread to sop everything up.
The recipe comes from Decolonize Your Diet. Trust me, it has nothing to do with colons and cleanses and all to do about traditional Mexican/American cuisine gone plant-based.The recipes promote a diet that is rich in plants indigenous to the Americas (corn, beans, squash, greens, herbs, and seeds). Beyond the recipes, they are intersected within the context of the country’s history, culture and social justice.
While it isn’t entirely vegan (everything is vegetarian), the majority of the recipes are vegan or can easily be substituted to become vegan recipes. This is actually a book I desperately would have wanted while I lived in Houston and had easy access to Mexican ingredients – cactus/nopales, huitlacoche/Mexican truffle/corn smut, epazote, fresh corn tortillas, and the like. While these ingredients are not essential to enjoying the book, it would have been fun to experiment with vegan recipes that called for them (something that I found lacking when I was trying to figure out how to cook them).
I liked how simple the recipes were while also being exciting for me to want to try them. The recipes are based on whole foods ingredients and the recipe for tortillas has me wondering whether it would be worthwhile trying out now that don’t have access to 100 fresh corn tortillas for $2.
Some of the other recipes that excite me are the hibiscus flower tacos (I have heard great things about these!), other bean dishes like the Tepary Bean Salad and Chicana Power Chili Beans as well as the tofu-based Slow Cooker Enchiladas. I also recognize many favourites from our travels such as Chiles Rellenos, Chilaquiles and Red Pipian. There is a spin to make the recipes a bit more nutritious such as the Healing Green Chileatole, which spikes the regular corn-based atole drink with chiles, cilantro and tomatilloas to make an interesting soup or the medicinal mushrooms added to the pozole.
I imagine this will appeal to many of my readers and I am happy to have one copy to share with you.
Recipes from Decolonize Your Diet shared elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me whether you have a favourite Mexican recipe you’d like to see vegan. The winner will be selected at random on February 7, 2016. Good luck!
Slow Cooker Soldaderas Beans
Recipe reprinted, with permission from Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing by Luz Calvo & Catriona Rueda Esquibel. Published by Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015.
Author’s note: This recipe is our feminist riff on the common frijoles charros (cowboy beans). A vegan dish named after the women who fought in the Mexican Revolution (soldaderas), this features a smoky flavor—as if cooked over a camp fire.
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 white onions, peeled and chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 head garlic (about 14 cloves), peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 12-oz (355-mL) bottle lager beer (see Shopping Note)
1 tbsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp liquid smoke concentrate (optional)
1 tbsp minced Chipotles en Adobo or canned (Janet’s note: omitted)
2 cups (500 mL) heirloom beans (pinquito, bolita, vaquero, Good Mother Stallard, or pinto) (Janet’s note: I used Rancho Gordo’s bolita beans)
1 qt (1 L) water
4 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped or 1 14.5-oz (411-g) can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped cilantro
2 tsp sea salt
1. In a large frying pan on medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and coriander and cook until fragrance is released, about 1 minute. Pour in beer and stir in oregano, bay leaves, liquid smoke, and chipotle. Bring up to a slow simmer.
2. Transfer mixture, along with beans and water, to slow cooker. Cook beans on high heat for 4–6 hours or low 6–9 hours, or until skins are soft and insides are creamy. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and salt.
3. Reduce heat to low (if necessary) and cook 1 hour to allow tomatoes to soften and seasonings to meld.
We use a pure-brewed organic lager in this recipe.
A Mexican beer would also work well.
Makes 6 cups (1 ½ L) or about 8 servings
PHOTOGRAPHS, PROP STYLING & FOOD STYLING CREDITS FROM COOKBOOK: Tracey Kusiewicz | Foodie Photography foodiephotography.com
Note: I was given a copy of the cookbook from the publisher. I was under no obligation to share a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Contest Rules: No purchase necessary. Contest period begins Saturday, January 23, 2016 and ends Sunday, February 7, 2016. For US and Canadian residents only. Approximate retail value $26.95. Enter by writing a comment answering the prompt for a chance to win. Entrants must supply a valid email address. Winners will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours.