#SaturdayNightCook Lime and Chipotle Black Bean Tacos
Saturdays in our house have become the time to spend a bit more time and effort on a meal and each weekend I’ve tried to make a simple but colourful feast to punctuate the week. This week it’s going to be taco night.
I am yet to find anyone who doesn’t love these tacos, and I think that’s because they hit all the spots on flavour, texture and feel-good food. This is probably the supper I make the most – it’s quick and flavourful, and most of the ingredients sit happily in my larder or can be grabbed from the local corner shop. In fact it’s John who usually makes these for me – he picked them up on a surf trip to Nicaragua.
It may look as though there are a lot of ingredients and jobs, but this is super-quick, and the only real cooking is gently heating the beans. If I am feeling like eating something particularly virtuous, I swap the tortillas for sturdy leaves of spring greens to wrap everything up in.
Black beans hold a secret, which I love: they are packed with a rare combination of protein and fibre. A cup of black beans can contain as much protein as a 100g serving of chicken, and they have three times more fibre than broccoli. Black beans are also packed with the antioxidants found in other dark purple and deep scarlet foods, like blueberries and grapes.
If you end up cooking these tacos for #SaturdatNightCook (or any other day of the week, for that matter) then tag me in and I’ll share. Solidarity in tacos.
FOR THE BEANS
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle paste or 1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 × 400g tins of black beans
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SALSA
20 cherry tomatoes
1⁄2 a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
a few sprigs of fresh coriander, leaves picked
juice of 1⁄2 a lime extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE GUACAMOLE
juice of 1⁄2 a lime
FOR THE CRUNCH SALAD
1 small apple
juice of 1⁄2 a lime
a few leaves of white cabbage or a little gem lettuce
4 radishes, sliced
a few sprigs of fresh coriander
Heat a frying pan on a medium heat, then add the garlic and a splash of olive oil and cook for a minute or so, until the edges of the garlic begin to just brown. Add the cinnamon, cumin and chipotle paste or chilli and stir for another minute to gently toast the spices. Add the beans and their liquid, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and cook for 10–15 minutes, until the liquid has thickened but the beans are still holding their shape. If you need to, add a little hot water to loosen. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
While the beans are cooking you can get on with the other jobs. To make your salsa, chop the tomatoes roughly on a big board. Pile the chilli and coriander on top, season with salt and pepper and chop all this together. Scrape into a bowl, add the lime juice and a splash of olive oil and mix well. Set to one side.
To make the guacamole, peel the avocado, remove the stone, and mash in a bowl with a little salt and pepper and the lime juice. You can use a potato masher if you like.
Now for the salad. Chop the apple into little shards and put them into a bowl. Squeeze over the lime juice, add the shredded cabbage or lettuce, radishes and coriander, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little oil.
Once everything is ready, heat your tortillas. I do this by holding them with tongs over the flame of my gas hob – it’s super-quick and gives a delicious charred taste – but the oven will do just fine. Put the beans, salad, guacamole and salsa in separate bowls on the table, along with the tortillas and grated cheese, and let everyone make their own. Don’t forget the chilli sauce, and sometimes a little yoghurt works well too.
Image: Brian W Ferry