I was waiting for this recipe to come along purely as an excuse to put up the recipe for my Mum’s beans. My Mum’s black beans are unmatched and flawless in the way that only a recipe that someone has made every week for the past 30 years can be. They are some crazy-ass beans. They make this recipe unapologetically amazing, but it’s not even a fair comparison to how good they are when served on their own with a dollop of crème fraiche and some homemade salsa or pico. As someone whose protein source for most of childhood consisted almost entirely of these beans (and turkey wieners), trust me when I tell you that they are truly something else.
This recipe does ask you to go out in pursuit of some (perhaps) less familiar items, but rest assured, many of them are so easy to find these days. Tomatillos, for instance, are pretty reliably carried by large supermarket chains now and the powdered chicken stock (Knorr Suiza) can often be found at authentically Latino markets as it is the Mexican home cook’s most reliable (and unacknowledged) pal. There, I’ve just divulged our most guarded secret, and all so you can set forth and make the best black bean nachos of your life. Don’t say I never did anything for ya.
BA’s Best: Black Bean Nachos
Nachos recipe taken from BA’s Best arsenal, with some tweaking here and there
Serves 6 (but also 1 if that’s where you’re at with life)
**Please note that you will need to soak the beans overnight, so plan accordingly.
Pico de Gallo:
3 Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
½ red onion, very finely chopped
1 jalapeño, very finely chopped (and seeded if you’re not into spice)
1 tbsp red vine vinegar
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 medium tomatillos (lots of supermarkets sell these – check the produce aisle!)
1 ripe avocado
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Nachos and Assembly:
6 oz bag good-quality tortilla chips (so, not the kind that are basically Doritos without cheese dust)
1 cup shredded Cheddar
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
~3 cups Leanne’s Legendary Black Beans, pureed (see recipe below)
Thinly sliced radishes + cilantro leaves, to serve
Make the pico de gallo first as it needs to sit for a bit. Combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and vinegar in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 1 hour. Stir in cilantro just prior to serving.
Make the salsa verde next. Peel the husks from the tomatillos and gently rinse their sticky skins. Quarter the tomatillos and place in a food processor along with the remaining salsa verde ingredients and puree until mostly smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange half the tortilla chips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Top with half the pureed beans, then half of each cheese. Repeat the layering one more time. Bake until melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve topped with dollops of pico de gallo and salsa verde, along with handfuls of sliced radishes and cilantro leaves.
Leanne’s Legendary Black Beans
Taken directly from Leanne Quirk, with the smallest of tweaks
Makes a shit-ton of beans
3 cups dried black beans
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo (this is in the Mexican section of nearly all stores)
2-inch piece of dried Spanish chorizo sausage
½ of a yellow onion, unpeeled
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp salt + more to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp powdered chicken stock (such as Knorr Suiza; you could also use 1 L chicken stock…but, like, Knorr Suiza would taste way better)
Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Let sit overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the beans, then place in a large pot with 12 cups of water, 2 canned chipotles + 1 tbsp adobo sauce, chorizo, onion, bay leaves, and 2 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil, turn to medium-low, and add olive oil. Simmer for 1 ½ hours, then add 4 more cups of water plus the powdered stock (or omit both and use chicken stock). Continue to cook at a gentle simmer for another 1 – 1 ¼ hours. Taste occasionally, adding more salt if needed. You should be left with a kind of soup, but with a thicker, richer liquid than broth. Season to taste.
To serve pureed (as prescribed for nachos above), scoop beans into a blender using a slotted spoon. Pour in a couple ladlefuls of the cooking liquid and blend until desired consistency is reached. I prefer my beans a bit soupier, both for nachos and for straight-up eating. These are a requisite part of any good hangover breakfast.
To serve Leanne’s way (very highly recommended), leave the beans and cooking liquid as they are. Spoon into soup bowls and top with crème fraiche (or Mexican crema if you can get it) and pico de gallo.