TASTE OF SANTA FE - BLACK BEANS & WHEAT BERRIES

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico is renowned for it’s food, art scene and sunsets.  While you need to go in person to experience the culture and beauty for yourself, the least I can do is bring some of the flavors to your plate, no matter where you are!

This meal works brilliantly as a stand-alone chili, or add to salads, wraps, omelets and pizzas for both a superfoods nutrient and flavor boost.

 

So make it once, and enjoy it several days, several ways.

PREP TIME:  10 min

 

COOK TIME:

Conventional Method 2+ hours on the stove

Wonderbag Method 35 min on the stove; 3+ hours in the bag

SERVES:  4 as a main, 8 as a side

INGREDIENTS

FOR COOKING

  • 310 g package of Taste of Santa Fe Black Beans & Wheat Berries

  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 2 cups (500 ml)  water

  • Salt and pepper

FOR SERVING INSPIRATIONS

  • Fresh cilantro (coriander)

  • Shredded cheddar cheese

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Diced onions

  • Avocado

  • Iceburg or Romaine lettuce

  • Plain yogurt

  • Whole Grain or Corn Tortillas

PREPARATION: SOAK OVERNIGHT

THE NIGHT BEFORE COOKING, remove the spice packet from the packaging and set aside.

 

Soak the beans and wheat berries in a generous amount of water for 12 or more hours.

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

WONDERBAG METHOD

 

1)  Drain and rinse your soaked beans and grain.  Sort through to make sure there are no little stones.

 

2)  In a 1 ½ quart (2 litre) pot, saute onions and bell pepper in 3 Tbsp (45ml) olive oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

 

3)  Stir in the contents of the spice packet, your drained beans & grain, and the water.  Bring to a boil.

 

4)  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

 

5)  Seal your lidded pot in the Wonderbag and leave it to cook for a minimum of 3 hours (best to leave it 6-7 hours, or all day, the flavours develop the longer you leave it and your beans will not overcook nor turn to mush!).

 

6)  Salt to taste AFTER the beans are cooked.

CONVENTIONAL METHOD

 

1)  Drain and rinse your soaked beans and grain.  Sort through to make sure there are no little stones.

 

2)  In a 1 ½ quart (2 litre) pot, saute onions and bell pepper in 3 Tbsp (45ml) olive oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

 

3)  Stir in the contents of the spice packet, your drained beans & grain, and the water.  Bring to a boil.

 

4)  Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.

 

5)  You may need to add more water due to evaporation.  Keep the temperature as low as possible to avoid the beans turning into 'mush' when stirred.

 

6)  Salt to taste AFTER the beans are cooked.

SERVING INSPIRATIONS

FRESH & HEALTHY CHILI

 

For a black-bean chili straight out of the bag, salt & pepper to taste, then ladle into bowls and garnish with your favorite chili toppings - in our house it's tomatoes, onion, cheese, cilantro (coriander) and a plain yogurt (pictured above).

FESTIVE WRAP BUFFET

Warm up a few whole grain or corn tortillas in the oven.

 

Set out a lot of small bowls with the wrap fillings you like:  tomato, onion, cilantro (coriander) chopped lettuce, avocado, cheese, plain yogurt etc.

 

Voila!  You have a fun and festive 'make-your-own' wrap buffet.

HEARTY SALAD BOWL

Let the cooked mixture cool, then mix beans and grain with fresh tomatoes, diced green onion, chunks of avocado and chopped spinach, kale or salad leaves of choice.

 

Drizzle with Creamy Southwest Dressing or vinaigrette of choice and top with fresh cilantro (coriander) and shredded cheese as desired.

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS:  MEXICAN PIZZA

Bake a whole wheat tortilla in the oven at 350F/180c for 6-8 minutes to crisp it up.

 

Remove from oven spread with tomato sauce, cooked Taste of Santa Fe beans and grain, and toppings of choice.

 

Bake for 8-10 min.  Yummy!

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS:  SPANISH OMELET

Fill an omelette with sautéed onions, cheese and a few spoonfuls of your leftover cooked beans and grain. 

 

Top with fresh tomatoes and cilantro (coriander) as desired.

HOW-TO VIDEO

COOKING & SERVING - See the start-to-finish process and explanations

Recipe & Photo Credit:  Cathy Menees

Video Credits:  Hannah Menees and Sierra Bonilla

COOK'S NOTES

INGREDIENTS

 

Beans and wheat berries are both 'sturdy' foods, full of fibre and goodness, but also 'sturdy' to cook.  It's important to soak them at least 12 hours...24 hours is also ok.

COOKING

 

Avoid cooking beans in salted water, nor with acidic foods such as tomatoes, wine, vinegar, lemon juice etc.  They will NOT soften.  Always add your salt and tomatoes/condiments after cooking.

KITCHEN BUDDIES

 

You can of course cook beans and wheat berries on the stove for the full time...but the reason the Wonderbag is your best friend here is that beans can be tricky and easily turn into a mushy paste if you don't watch them - and it's easy to forget because they take a bit of time.

 

The Wonderbag takes the worry out of the cooking.  Magically, you can leave the beans for 3 hours or 10 hours and they will not be overcooked or mushy.  They will maintain their texture and bite, so you can mix them with anything you want without ever ending up with 'bean dip' (i.e. paste).

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