Black Bean Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 5 hours

Ingredients:

Firm-Cooked Black Beans:
1 pound dried black beans, picked through and rinsed
1 small onion, cut in half
2 ribs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ green bell pepper, cored and seeded
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bouquet garni of 1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs fresh thyme & 3 springs fresh parsley tied in a piece of cheesecloth
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salsa:
2 cups firm-cooked black beans
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and finely diced
1 poblano chile, seeded and finely diced
½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely diced
½ cup corn kernels (fresh & cooked or frozen & thawed)
½ cup finely diced red onion
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. For the Firm-Cooked Black Beans: In a large, heavy stockpot, soak the beans in cold water to cover by at least 3 inches for no less than 4 hours, or overnight.

2. Add the vegetables, garlic, bouquet garni, cumin and oregano to the pot of beans and soaking water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

3. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the beans, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Add water as necessary to keep the beans submerged.

4. Season the beans with salt and pepper during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Remove and discard the vegetables and bouquet garni. The beans are now ready to be used in the salsa, or they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

5. Assemble the Salsa: Combine all of the ingredients for the salsa in a mixing bowl and toss well. Add more salt or lime juice as needed. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Note #1: If you do not have cheesecloth for the bouquet garni, you can also use a coffee filter.

Note #2: If you prefer to not cook the beans yourself, you can use 2 cups of canned (rinsed and drained) black beans. If you do this, be sure to taste for seasoning adjustments. You will likely need to use more cumin, salt and pepper.