Dried beans as a source of food is a relatively new concept for me. Before now, most of my experience with dried beans involved glue and paper in elementary school. As I grew older, I became aware that they could be cooked and eaten, but I felt unsure about trying it myself. Until now.
My first attempt involved dried lentils in the Lentil and Chicken Stew, which turned out well. So yesterday for lunch I cooked up some dried red kidney beans in my 14th new recipe of 2013: Garlicky Red Beans and Pork. I found the recipe in my WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook. I had been looking around for a pork slow-cooker recipe, but the only appealing ones I found were for pulled pork, which I had made not too long ago.
This recipe had me soaking dried beans for the first time. In my eagerness, I jumped the gun a little bit; I put them in a bowl to soak overnight, but I had not planned to make the recipe until dinner the following day. When I reread the directions yesterday morning, I realized that cooking the beans for lunch would be a better option. Everything went smoothly, except that when browning the pork my Dutch oven turned nearly black on the bottom from the burnt bits. (I’ve decided that my stove is way too hot, as everything seems to burn very easily.) I cooked the rest of the dish in a new pot, as I did not want the garlic flavor of the recipe to be overshadowed by a charred one.
I served the dish with plain brown rice (I added 1/2 cup to my serving of beans and pork), and John had the good idea of adding a few dashes of hot pepper sauce to spice it up. The added heat was a plus to an otherwise good-but-plain dish. The ratings: 3.5 from me, 3 from John.
Garlicky Red Beans and Pork
1 TB olive oil
1 lb boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1.5-inch chunks
2 onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried red kidney beans, picked over, soaked, and drained
1 (4.5-oz) can chopped mild green chiles, drained
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook pork, in batches, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Return pork to pot along with tomatoes, beans, chiles, water, cumin, salt, and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 1 hour.
Yield: 4 servings (about 1.5 cups each). Per serving, 8 PointsPlus.