Thursday, May 28, 2009

Seasonings For Beans and other Mexican Foods

As I said in my original post about beans, falling on financially tight times taught me a lot.  I would cook 6 qts of beans each week.  The first night would have just plain beans with a little cheese.  I would split the rest into half and make refried beans with some and chile beans with the rest.  Oops, I forgot the liquid smoke and canned diced tomatoes.

Since I put the directions above for refried beans, I will just give some tips for chile beans.  This will depend on your taste, so I won't really give exact amounts.  It usually changes from week to week for me, depending on my cravings and how much ground beef,  I have on hand.

  • Cooked beans--If you don't have some left-over, get a #10 can of the ranch style beans from Costco or Wally world.  These already have the red chile powder in them.
  • Ground beef--cook  while scrambling it up.  ***Chorizo-- I almost forgot to mention this!  If you don't know what it is, try Mexican sausage.  It has actually become fairly common and not too hard to find, at least in the western US.  It can add quite a bite and really lots of flavor.  Use it instead of ground beef.
  • Onion--I will usually add medium, diced onion
  • Garlic--yes I cheat, I keep the minced garlic in a jar in the fridge.  BUT, if I was using fresh garlic, I would use 1 clove, minced
  • Canned green chile--I always buy the big #401 cans (27 oz.)  I use about 1/4 can, diced.  Sometimes I go wild and use about half a can.  they are very mild and don't add much bite to the mix, just a nice peppery taste.
  • Bay leaf-- I just like the taste of them and it seems to bring out the beefy flavor of the ground beef.   If someone gets in their bowl at the table, they get to wish for something.  My 4 yr. old grandson is waiting for his rhinoceros
  • Canned petite, diced tomatoes--I use a #401 can
  • Red chile powder-- I use about 1 t. of the mild kind.  Sometimes, I use the crushed red chile flakes.  Since there are seeds, they usually add more "zest".
  • Tomato paste--This will make the "broth" thicker.  I have found that those of you in the colder climates seem to prefer this style ;-) 
  • Liquid smoke--1/4-1/2 t.--I do love a little bit of a smokey flavor.  Some left-over home smoked salmon I snagged out of my brother's fridge years ago had me hooked.  I love to smoke my own meats, etc. now.  This is a quick "fix" when I can't afford to do that for lack of time or good ribs, chicken . . . Nuts! . . . now I'm hungry!!
  • Cumin--This can add such a nice subtle flavor.  Just use a sprinkle.  I have had a fair number of dishes that got overdosed on cumin ,  takes all the fun out of it!

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