Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mexican Beans with Chorizo and Greens

My trip to Cilantro last Friday inspired me to crack open my Rick Bayless cookbooks again and look for a recipe to try this week. As with most of my cookbooks, Post-It notes are peeking out, marking part of my endless queue of recipes. I opted to find a recipe out of Mexican Everyday instead of Authentic Mexican; the latter has recipes better for long days in the kitchen on the weekend instead of quick weeknight dinners.

This hearty dish is somewhere between a soup and a stew, but isn't too heavy for a summer dinner. Chorizo, like bacon, lends a lot of flavor to a dish even when you only add a small amount. Choose a chorizo with a spice palate you enjoy. If you don't like things spicy, only add one chipotle en adobo; I added two because I love hot food. To make this dish vegetarian, saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil in lieu of the chorizo. The next time I make this dish I may add some chopped onions and garlic (while still using chorizo), although this dish quite wonderful just the way it is.

Mexican Beans with Chorizo and Greens
Frijoles con Chorizo y Espinacas o Acelgas

serves 4
from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

8 to 12 oz. fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed
10 oz. cleaned young spinach (about 10 cups) OR one 12-ounce bunch Swiss chard, thick lower stems cut off, leaves sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 8 cups)
Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained OR 3.5 c. home-cooked black beans, drained
1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/2 c. crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese
1/2 c. chopped green onions or thin-sliced red onion, for garnish

1. In a medium-large (4- to 6-quart; 10- to 12-inch-diameter) heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, cook the chorizo over medium heat, stirring regularly and breaking up clumps, until lightly browned and thoroughly done, about 8 to 10 minutes.

2. While the chorizo is cooking, place the spinach or Swiss chard in a microwaveable bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high (100%) until completely wilted, usually about 2 minutes for spinach, 3 minutes or so for the Swiss chard. (If your spinach comes in a microwaveable bag, simply microwave it in the bag). Uncover the bowl (or open the bag) and set aside.

3. When the chorizo is ready, add the beans, chopped chipotles and 1.5 cups water. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon, depending on the saltiness of the chorizo and beans. Add the wilted and greens and let the mixture return to a boil.

4. Ladle into bowls and serve, passing the cheese and onion for each person to add al gusto.

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