A few months ago, I tossed a bunch of old cookbooks and decided to pare down my library to the books I’d use most often and I could learn the most from. Dorie Greenspan made the cut, a million old copies of Kraft magazine did not.I’m working on slowing building up a collection that values quality over quantity.
Though Mexican food is an absolute staple in my house (and in my restaurant choices) and though I’ve been cooking up Mexican inspired dishes for years now, I’ve never strayed much from my old stand-bys: beef tacos, veggie fajitas, nachos pile high with guacamole. These things are all great, but I’m trying to focus on learning more about authentic Mexican cuisine, work with better ingredients, and master new recipes I haven’t tried yet. Thus, in my cookbook research, I knew I wanted a killer volume that would teach me all the Mexican food basics, plus some. Again and again, people recommend Rick Bayless and I finally took the plunge and bought the 20th Anniversary Edition of Authentic Mexican. It has not disappointed.
Last night, we threw together an awesome burrito bar full of some of my standards: cilantro lime rice, fresh pico de gallo, shredded cheese, cumin-spiced grilled chicken and these two new recipes I’m sharing here today: beer glazed black beans and chipotle salsa.
The chilpotle salsa is the first thing I tried from Authentic Mexican, and it was so rich and easy to make, it makes me all the more eager to jump into the book’s other treasures. Plus, it gave me an excuse to finally work with tomatillios for the first time.
The Beer glazed black beans are from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, a book whose praises I’ve been singing all year to anyone who will listen to me. I thought my standard re-fried black beans were pretty decent, but these blow my old method out of the water. The combination of the onion and beer really elevated these and made them fabulous – they’re great on their own as a side, or as filling in a meatless burrito.
Beer Glazed Black Beans – Ingredients
- 3 cups cooked black beans (or 2 15 oz cans- rinsed & drained)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 cup beer
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt, to taste
Beer Glazed Black Beans- Instructions
- Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic. Saute until fragrant and onions begin to turn translucent, about 5 minutes
- Add black beans, honey, chili powder, and beer to the pan
- Bring mixture to a steady, slow bubble. Simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until sauce reduces and thickens
- Add salt to taste, serve warm
Chipotle Salsa – Ingredients
- 3 medium fresh tomatillos, husked and washed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 canned chipotles, seeded
- 2 tablespoons water
- Salt, to taste
Chipotle Salsa – Instructions
- Roast garlic and tomatillos by laying aluminum foil on a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Place garlic and tomatillos on top of the foil, turning every few minutes until browned in spots. (Roasting garlic should take about 15 minutes; tomatillos should take about 10 minutes.)
- Place tomatillos, garlic, chipotles and 2 tablespoons of water in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper