Biba baked beans

Yield: 8 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 cup Dried kidney beans (see note #1)
½ cup Dried cannelini beans
½ cup Dried great northern beans
\N \N Cold water
2 \N Sprigs fresh thyme (see note #2)
4 tablespoons Olive oil
1 large Onion; chopped
1 \N Carrot; chopped
1 \N Jalapeno pepper; seeded and chopped (see note #3)
2 \N Cloves garlic; minced
1 tablespoon Cumin seeds; toasted (see note #4)
½ cup Crushed canned tomatoes
4 \N Ripe plum tomatoes
¼ cup Maple syrup
¼ cup Light brown sugar
1 \N Bay leaf
1 \N Orange; grated rind of
½ tablespoon Crushed peppercorn
¼ cup Chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups Cold water; or vegetable stock
¼ cup Cider vinegar
\N \N Salt; to taste
\N \N Adjust seasoning: salt and pepper; and up to 2 more tbs vinegar
\N \N Additional cilantro for garnish

The following recipe is adapted from the New York Times magazine section from a while back (from Biba Restaurant, Boston).

In this strictly vegetarian version (sanctioned by the NYT), it is one of the few bean recipes that I make over and over.

Place dried beans in a bowl. Cover with cold water by 2 inches, add fresh thyme and let soak overnight, at least 4 hours.

Heat a heavy 2- to 3-quart casserole. Add olive oil and Sautee onion and carrot for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and carrot soft.

Add jalapeno pepper, garlic, and cumin seeds, and cook a few minutes longer.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (See note #5.) Drain beans, and add to the casserole, together with canned tomatoes, plum tomatoes, maple syrup, brown sugar, bay leaf, orange rind, peppercorns, chopped fresh cilantro, and cold water, or vegetable stock. Cover, and bring to a slow simmer. Place casserole in oven, and cook for 1 hour.

Add cider vinegar and salt, to taste. Cook 1 hour longer, until liquid has been absorbed, but the beans are still moist. Adjust seasoning - salt and pepper, and up to 2 more T vinegar. Garnish with additional cilantro.

NOTES: (1) I generally use white kidney beans. Using all white beans gives a pleasing uniform color to the dish. Just about any combination of dried beans can be used. (2) Or, 1 heaping tablespoon of dried thyme.

Just be sure to rinse it off completely. (3) Or, to suit your tolerance.

I find that the peppers provide more of an undercurrent of heat than an outright fire, and so, too much is probably not a good idea in this dish. The hot pepper should act as a foil to the other sweet and sour components, not as an overpowering taste in itself. (4) To toast cumin seed, heat a small saucepan, add the cumin and heat, shaking the pan, until the seeds begin to dance (pop) and smell toasty. (5) I've made this recipe also in a crock pot and slow cooker with

the same results. It takes considerably more time to cook, so adjust the times accordingly. Make sure the beans cook long enough to become tender.



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