We all probably have a black bean soup recipe. They often use chili powder for the punch, which is yummy. This one uses chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and I find a superior taste. You make the chipotle sauce ahead of time (it stores well in an airtight container without refrigeration) and just use a teaspoon or so each time you make it. We usually make enough to have soup for dinner, then use the leftovers for breakfast burritos the next morning. It gets thicker the longer it cooks so this works perfectly.
About Leftovers and No Refrigeration
So what do you do with leftovers when you don’t have refrigeration? Tread cautiously for sure, but we have found there are three main tricks: the right kinds of food that are safest to store un-refrigerated, the length of time you keep the food, and thorough reheating when you do re-use it.
Types of food to use. We avoid chicken and fish unless we are going to bring it straight from the store to the cooking pan or brief marinade and eat it all in that meal. Red meat seems more forgiving, and vegetables are the safest of all. If we make a steak one night, we find we can have burritos the next morning or even the next evening if the steak is thoroughly re-heated. Use this advice at your own risk, but it has worked for us. I would not do this with hamburger, and hamburger in general seems more susceptible to spoiling than a piece of meat so we avoid it on the boat.
Length of storage and reheating. We have generally tried to re-use meat for up to 24 hours and vegetables/legumes a couple of days if they are continuously heated or reheated every day or so. Think of those “eternity soups” that sailors used to keep on the burner on their boats. They would just add more ingredients each day or so, the flavors from the day before flavoring today’s additions. I don’t like keeping the flame on all the time, but it is riskier to cool and reheat so make sure your reheating is quite thorough if you choose this method. Again, this is common practice around the world but try this at your own risk. If you see a certain sliminess or opaque film on the food, toss it. If there is any smell, toss it. Be sensible.
Pressure Cookers and Beans
It would be difficult for me to live without refrigeration if it were not for my pressure cooker. How are they related?
- Beans make living without refrigeration easier, tastier, and more nutritious since meats are difficult unless canned, and I think, pretty tasteless if canned.
- Dried beans are easier than cans to store efficiently and lighter to carry when you do restock.
- Pressure cookers make using dried beans much quicker and easier so you aren’t as tempted to resort to canned beans.
I carry several kinds of beans on board, and using dried beans means no cans, no waste, and many many meals before I have to go shopping again. Plus I think they taste better when I cook them myself. I do use canned beans for emergencies, but they are heavy to carry home from the store (usually by bus and walking) and disappear at the most inopportune times. (“I’m sure I have one more can of chick peas!”). But if you need to make hummus for a sundowner in a few hours? Canned beans come to the rescue.
About Pre-soaking Beans
Using dried beans is even better if you can plan ahead. Bean cooking times are reduced if you can remember to throw them in some water before you go to bed the night before you want to use them. Even if you don’t remember until breakfast time that will be a help. On a boat at anchorage or under way you probably want to put those soaking beans in a watertight container and leave them in the sink or someplace they won’t go flying.
Here are the differences in cooking times between stove top and pressure cooker for these beans that I particularly like:
|Bean Type||Stove-top cooking time||Pressure cooking time (unsoaked)||Pressure cooking time (pre-soaked)|
|Black||40 - 60||22||4|
|Garbanzo||90 - 120 after soaking overnight||35||13|
|Flageolet (French white bean)||90 minutes after soaking overnight||18||6|
|Lentil||20 minutes, no soaking||10||x|
|Mung (whole)||45 minutes, no soaking||15||5|
About Flageolet Beans
You may not be familiar with flageolet (“flah-joh-lay”) beans. They are a medium white bean with a light green cast. They cook up like Navy beans but are higher in protein, fat and fiber. Plus they are the creamiest bean I’ve ever tasted! Trust the French to champion a great bean.
But, back to our Black Bean recipe. Here it is and let me know if you try it out or try any variations.
Best Black Beans
- 1 can chipotle chilis in adobo
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
- 1 cup dried black beans (1/2 pound = 1 cup)
- 3 cups stock
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- pepper to taste
Garnishes for serving
- sour cream
- cilantro leaves
- lime juice
Optional: Soaking the Beans
If you can cover the beans with water the night before and let them soak for 8 to 12 hours. If you don't have time for this just keep the pressure cooker going for 22 minutes instead of 5 below
Making the chili sauce
Empty the can of chilies into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, scrape into a container, and set aside. This sauce keeps well in an airtight container without refrigeration. You just use a little each time you make the soup.
Making the Beans
In a 4-6 quart pressure cooker heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrots, onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
Pour in wine and let simmer until pan is almost dry and vegetables are coated. Push the vegetables out to the edges of the pot and dollop 1 teaspoon of chipotle purée in the center. Let fry for a minute and then stir together with the vegetables.
Add beans, stock, oregano and bay leaves. Close pressure cooker and bring to high pressure with moderate heat. Reduce the heat once you achieve pressure, just enough to keep the pressure up.
If you did soak the beans in the first step, cook under high pressure for 5 minutes and let the heat reduce naturally after removing the pot from the heat. Otherwise cook for 25 minutes and let the pressure reduce naturally after removing the pot from the heat.
After opening the pressure cooker test the texture of the beans. If they seem too hard you have several options: you can return them to pressure, or you can continue to cook them without pressure. If you like a pureed texture you can use an immersion blender to puree SOME of the beans – leave most whole for texture.
Serve in bowls with garnishes, or heat tortillas and make burritos with the beans as filling.