Thursday, 28 March 2013

Beans in the slow cooker

I have to admit that I eat some sort of animal protein at almost every meal. I would love to eat more vegetarian foods, but I'm quite strict with trying to take in at least a gram of protein per kilogram body weight, so I really need to plan my meals. I could do protein shakes, and I do from time to time, but they are just so incredibly disgusting. But I really would love to eat vegetarian more. 

I like the idea of beans, in theory (apart from the rather hilarious side effect they tend to produce). They are cheap and relatively high in protein and particularly high in fibre. And we all know you can't have too much fibre in your diet, the more the merrier. I always browse through the bags of dried beans at the grocery store, but then I always go for the tinned ones, for convenience. But then I saw this wonderful idea on One Perfect Bite about cooking your beans in the slow cooker. You can just pop them in there before going to bed, and in the morning you have perfectly cooked beans. So off I went to the grocery store to get a big bag of dried Pinto beans and popped them into the slow cooker. I only used half the amount of beans from the original recipe, but kept the amounts for the spices and onions the same as I wanted a really flavourful bean paste. And I think they turned out great, although I had a slight mishap when adding dried chilli flakes (I never measure spices but pour straight from the spice jar and just estimate the amount. What can I say, I'm a wild child) and the result was rather chilly for my tongue. But when added into the burrito with the rest of the ingredients, I was actually quite happy I made it a bit hotter than I usually do.

This recipe is from from One Perfect Bite. I changed the amount of the spices a bit more to my taste, and halved the amount of beans (but not the spices and onion).

Pinto beans in slow cooker:
250 g dried pinto beans
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
3.5 cups (8.5 dl) of water

The howto:
For the beans, rinse the beans and chop onion and garlic. Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. If you have a lot of liquid left over after cooking, transfer the beans into a food processor and blend to desired consistency. I didn't have much liquid left, so I just took my handheld blender and blended it right in the crockpot.

The verdict:
I'm so happy to bring you a recipe for real food after all those baking recipes lately. This is super healthy and absolute minimum effort food. You can obviously serve your bean paste however you like, but I put mine into some giant burritos. It would also be perfect for enchiladas, but this time I was monstrously hungry after working out and could hardly wait for the rice to boil, not to mention waiting for the enchiladas to bake. Beans, brown rice, home made guacamole, salsa and a bit of yogurt made a really tasty meat free meal.
Card of the day:
The card of the day is something I made for a good friend who recently had her first baby. I knitted a pair of tiny socks, and then made the background by stamping "Oh boy!" using clear embossing ink, and embossing using clear embossing powder. I then sponged using Tim Holtz distress ink. I only have one stamp alphabet, I'm not sure I really like it, but that was what I had, so that was what I used to stamp the sentiment. I can't wait for the day sometime in the distant future when I have my own craft room where I can fit all my stamps and where I also will have a printer so that I can print custom sentiments. Until then I will just have to make do with what I have.

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