Traditional Texas Food
Articles about Texas' most famous foods
by John Raven, Ph.B.
Black Beans Get a Second Chance
by John Raven, Ph.B.
Beans have been a vital link in the Southwestern USA food chain since the beginning of recorded history. Beans that date back 6,000 years have been found in a cave in Peru.
Most of the American Indian cultures had beans as a central part of their diet. When agriculture became fashionable, the Big Three -- beans, squash and corn -- were grown together as the three plants worked well together. Eaten together, they made up a healthy diet. The biggest attraction was that the crops could be dried and stored in large quantities for hard times.
There are hundreds of types of beans. For now, we are going to talk about beans popular in Texas and the Southwest.
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To make amends for my harsh treatment of the black bean, I bought a pound of dried ones several weeks ago. As I detected no signs of life in the package, I put the beans in a pot with water and cooked them. I forgot to soak them overnight, so I just started cooking right off. In the short span of a couple of hours they were tender. I cooked them using my pinto bean recipe, ham seasoning and a little chili powder and garlic.
The beans were good. It wouldn't bother me a bit to serve some to the preacher. I still prefer the pintos, but that is a cultural thing.
I thought we would look into a couple of Texas things we can do with black beans.
Texas-Style Black BeansYour use of the black bean is limited only by your imagination. They can be turned into refried beans the same as the pinto. Also, black beans can be used like green peas for decoration -- anywhere you need a bit of color. Salads and salsas are especially receptive to the addition.
Eat hearty and go look at the bluebonnets.
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