To cook the beans
250g dried black beans
1 onion, cut in quarters
4 garlic cloves, bashed with a rolling pin
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 small bunch of coriander root
A few bay leaves
To finish the beans
50g butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A small handful finely chopped coriander
100g sobresada, or ndjua
The twice cooked beans on the Wahaca menus are a secret weapon, delicious, buttery and incredibly nutritious. We top ours with a drizzle of sobresada, a Mexican style chorizo made in Wales by Trealy Farm, a wonderful producer Tommi found a few years ago at the Abergavenny Food Festival. The smoky, delicious sobresada seasons the beans beautifully, but you only need a little of it, making it a lovely, low-energy sustainable choice.
Rinse the beans in cold water and drain. If you have time soaking the beans overnight reduces the side effects of eating too much fibre and reduces cooking time. Place the beans in a large pan and cover by at least four inches of cold water. Add the garlic, bicarbonate of soda, bay leaves and onion and bring the water to the boil. Cook the beans until they are just soft, topping them up with boiling water if the water looks like it boiling off, and skimming off any white foam that gathers on the surface. With the bicarbonate of soda you will massively reduce the cooking time but it will vary from 1.5-3 hours.
Once the beans are soft, drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Whiz the beans with a stick blender, with just enough of the cooking liquid (or water) to get a smooth puree the consistency of a thick double cream.
Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and when it is gently foaming add the onion. Season well with salt and pepper and sweat the onion until it is soft, sweet and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and coriander and cook for a further 5 minutes over a fairly low heat so as not to burn the garlic.
Add the beans and cook for another ten minutes over a low heat, stirring constantly so as not to burn the beans. Add a little more of the cooking liquid if needed so that the beans falls easily from a wooden spoon. Taste and season again, remembering that the sobresada is quite salty. At this stage you can cool the beans and re-heat them when you are ready to eat.
When you are ready to eat heat the sobresada in a small frying pan and re-heat the beans, stirring in a knob of butter to make them shine. Serve in a hot bowl, drizzled with the sobresada and scattered with more chopped coriander. Serve with some delicious grilled vegetables, warm tortillas and a fresh salsa. If I am avoiding meat I serve them with a knob of chipotle butter on top.