Smoky Black Beans with Spinach and Masa Dumplings

I’ve cooked almost every recipe in Mexico One Plate at a Time since I got it in high school, but this and the guacamole are two I make the most. For a long time I was completely intimidated by cooking dried beans, but this recipe helped me get over that. If you want to simplify your life a lot, you can even use a slow cooker for the beans a day or two before you plan to make this.

I had this recipe in mind when I threw these black beans with spinach, mushrooms, and pasilla chiles together while we were living in Korea. If I could have gotten my hands on some chipotles and masa, I would have made this instead, over and over. I don’t know what it is about the smoky flavor that is so addicting, but that combined with cute little masa dumplings and the spinach just have me hooked!

Recipe:
(adapted from Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless)

1 pound dried black beans
10 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 roma tomatoes
4 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, chopped
salt
1 cup dried masa mixed with 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp hot water
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped (stems removed)

Put the beans, water, onion, and garlic in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the beans are tender. (If you don’t have a slow cooker, simmer them on the stove, uncovered, for about 2 hours.
Roast the tomatoes under a hot broiler for a few minutes on each side until the skin is blistered and black. Let cool, then remove the skins and transfer the tomatoes to a food processor or blender. Add the chipotles and puree until smooth.
Stir the tomato mixture into the beans and season with salt to taste. At this point you can refrigerate the beans for a day or two, or just keep cooking.
To make the dumplings, mix the masa, water, and baking powder to make a smooth dough. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Roll small pieces of dough into marble-sized dumplings between your palms, then gently press your finger into the center to form a dimple.
Cook the dumplings in two batches, removing them with a slotted spoon once they rise to the surface. Cover with plastic wrap until you’re ready to add them to the beans.
Stir the spinach into the beans and stir occasionally until it is wilted. Add the dumplings, stir carefully so you don’t break them, and serve.

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