Culinary Basics Using Beans
Culinary basics using beans would not be complete without a recipe!
This recipe is from an old cookbook of mine from Williams and Sonoma – I purchased it years ago for bean and rice recipes – and it is called coincidentally Beans and Rice.
Beans and rice are a winning combination. This is evident in creole recipes as well as many Hispanic recipes.
Beans, legumes and grains are rich in protein and nutrients and while some are higher in calories or carbs, they actually keep food cravings at bay and promote steady blood sugar levels. As in all things, eat in moderation and learn more about each individual food’s caloric content, fat, carbs, etc. In the meantime, enjoy this delicious recipe.
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Tortilla Casserole with Beans
3/4 cup dried pinto beans or red kidney beans (substitute black beans)
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small green bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, chopped (yellow or red)
1 can of plum (Roma) tomatoes – drained – reserve juices – chop (or use a can of petite dice and no need to drain)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
6 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
8 corn tortillas (thin preferred) – 6 inches in diameter
2 cups grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (low-fat/part skim-milk)
2 cups coarsely chopped lettuce (green leaf, red leaf, or other)
2-4 tomatoes chopped
Chopped Olives (optional)
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Clean beans by picking out any stones or damaged beans. Rinse thoroughly.
Place in a bowl or Dutch oven – cover with plenty of water and soak for 3-12 hours.
Drain beans and put into a large saucepan or Dutch oven – cover with
water of about 2 inches. Bring to boil and reduce the heat to low and
simmer – uncovered – until skins of beans begin to crack and beans are
tender – 45-60 minutes. Drain.
(You can substitute canned beans for the above 3 steps)
In skillet, combine the beans, onions, garlic, peppers, canned
tomatoes, the juice from the tomatoes, cayenne pepper, chili powder,
cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes – stir
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the bean mixture is finished,
spread one-third of the mixture in a 9 x 13 baking dish lightly coated
with vegetable spray. Top this with 4 tortillas – overlap evenly – use 1
cup of cheese to cover tortillas.
Repeat the layers using half of the remaining bean mixture for the
next layer, the 4 remaining tortillas, and the remaining cheese. Add the
remaining portion of bean mixture.
The top will be bean mixture.
Cover with foil sprayed with vegetable spray and bake for about 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes or so. Top with
lettuce, fresh tomatoes, snips of green onion and olives, cilantro if
desired and dollops of sour cream – or serve as garnishes at the table.
For a great variation, try this with flour tortillas – great flavor and a bit crispier!
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Culinary Basics – Tortilla Casserole