Pasilla Black Beans with Spinach and Mushrooms


If you’re thinking that those don’t really look like black beans, you’re right. I actually have no idea what kind of beans they are, but Mike buys them by the kilo from an adorable old lady who speaks no English and always gives him a few extra scoops for free. They look black when they’re dry, but turn deep red when I soak and cook them. I would prefer black beans for sure, so if you’re lucky enough to have some around, please use them! I’ll live vicariously through you.

Periodically the other foreign teachers at work get care packages from home. They usually include cookies, Chee-tos, and other treats that are hard to find in Korea. When my first care package came, fun snacks were nowhere to be found. No, I got a bag of pasilla-ancho chiles (which is confusing, because they’re different), some yeast, old fashioned oats, garam masala, and a whole bunch of other ingredients I couldn’t wait to use.

Over the past couple months, I’ve worked my way through most of them, but never got around to using the pasillas (or anchos, or whatever they are). Yesterday, when I was reorganizing my cupboard, I spotted them and realized I needed to use them immediately if not sooner, and as luck would have it, I had a freshly cooked pot of beans at my disposal. I added some spinach and mushrooms, and served it over millet, but I think any grain would work (or you could just eat the beans plain, but why not go for the complete protein?)


3 pasilla or ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed, torn into pieces
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
about 20 button mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained
3 cups roughly chopped spinach
1/2 cup water
2 cups cooked millet (or other grain)

Put the chiles in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let stand, covered, at least 30 minutes so they get nice and soft. I like to put a small plate on top of the bowl to keep the steam in. Plastic wrap or foil would be fine too.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onions. Cook until translucent, then add the garlic and mushrooms, and cumin seeds. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes (so the mushrooms get nice and flavorful).

Remove the chiles from their soaking liquid, chop them finely, and add them to the vegetables. Add the beans and cook, stirring, for a few minutes (until heated through). Season with salt, then add the spinach and water and simmer for a minute or two. Either mix in the millet, or put some on a plate and spoon the bean mixture over it.

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