In that spirit, I made beans from scratch, in the slow cooker. As I’ve said in the past, I almost always use canned beans. (I’m actually very loyal to goya as a brand, and I think their beans are fresh and tasty. My first product endorsment!) But it’s fun to make beans from scratch, sometimes. It’s nice to use the slow cooker, on a hot day, because it doesn’t warm up the kitchen too much. And I like collards in a slow-cooked scenario, because their flavor develops nicely and they don’t turn to mush. I’ve also been on a food-quest for black cardamom, lately, and I finally got a big bag, and I was extremely eager to try it out. They’re wonderful! Big wrinkly black pods, with the most amazing smoky-sweet flavor. I love them! Their taste is milder than their smell. If you can’t find them, you can use green cardamom, or cardamom powder, and add a touch of smoked paprika, if you have it. This would probably good with rice, but I didn’t think of that at the time!
Here’s Ken Parker with Groovin in Style. I love this song so much! This is what we’ll sing while we play tag in our big glowing green field.
2 T olive oil
1 bunch of collards, washed and stem removed, chopped into pieces about 1 or 2 inches square. (About 2 packed cups pre-cooked)
1 cup black beans
4 scallions, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 plump clove garlic – minced
1/2 inch cube ginger, grated or minced
4 black cardamom pods
1 t tomato paste
2 t raw or brown sugar
2 T butter
1/4 t allspice
1 cup grape tomatoes, chopped in half or thirds
1 t balsamic vinegar
salt and plenty of pepper
Rinse the black beans. Put them in a big pot with plenty of water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let them sit for about an hour. Drain them.
In another big pot warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, scallions, ginger, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and cardamom pods, and sautee till the garlic starts to brown.
Add the collard leaves, and stir them so they’re coated with all the good flavors. Cook for about five minutes, then add the black beans and the tomato paste, and cook some more. Maybe ten minutes. You want the collards to be quite wilty.
Add three cups of water, the butter, sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
Pour the whole mixture into your slow cooker. Cook for about two hours, and then add the tomatoes. Cook for about another hour till the beans are just how you like them. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper, and serve!