The ink-black beans with their nutty taste are a striking contrast to the flavours, textures and bright colours of the garnishes. This dish is a nice pick-me-up for anyone who is starved for colour after the long winter. The cooking time for the beans may vary, depending on the age of the beans. Serve with rounds of polenta and a big salad for a casually elegant meal.
Black Beans with Fresh Tomatoes, Greek Yogurt and Coriander
Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups dried black beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 large sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 cup diced tomatoes (1/4” dice)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, or more to taste
Handful of coriander leaves
The evening before, wash the dried beans and soak them overnight in water to cover by 1 inch. Drain before using.
Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onion and stir fry until soft (about 3 to 4 minutes), add the red pepper and garlic; stir and sauté for one or two minutes more or until the vegetables wilt. Add the beans, the bay leaf, and enough water to cover the beans by 1/2”. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and cover the pot tightly. Simmer gently for 50 minutes or until the beans are almost done, adding more water as necessary to keep the beans submerged. Stir in the salt, black and cayenne peppers, and stir. Continue to simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes, or until done. Do not let the beans turn mushy. Up to this point the beans can be prepared one or two days ahead. Refrigerate and reheat before serving.
To serve, spoon the beans and some of their liquor into a round, shallow serving dish. Cover 2/3 of the beans with diced tomatoes, leaving an ungarnished outer circle of black. Dot the tomatoes with generous dollops of Greek yogurt and freely sprinkle coriander leaves over all. Serve more yogurt on the side.