Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Black Beans with Beets & Orange Juice


Black Beans and Beets with Orange Juice

This is one of the prettiest things I have ever made.  A few years ago I was in Texas sharing a meal with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew; as they ordered they talked a lot about “eating the rainbow.”  My nephew, however, didn’t want to eat nice, colorful veggies – he wanted white bread.  His response when asked about where white bread fit into the rainbow?  “White is a mixture of all the colors so eating the bread is eating the rainbow.”  That child is a Gries through and through. 

I tell that story both because I love it but also because when Gist and I were eating this dish we talked about how many colors of the rainbow it contained.  I think that “eating a rainbow everyday” is some of the best and most practical advice I’ve ever heard.  Another piece of practical food advice I always try to follow is that “your body tells you what it needs, if you’re craving something it’s a message from your body.”  I made this particular dish based on that second piece of advice – Gist asked me on Sunday if we could have black beans because she was really craving them, this is how I obliged.

This is another Mark Bittman recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  It’s delicious, colorful, nourishing, quick, and cheap.  It pairs canned beans and cumin…

Black Beans and Beets with Orange Juice

With some beautiful beets…

Black Beans and Beets with Orange Juice

And orange zest…

Black Beans and Beets with Orange Juice

Peppers, onions and garlic…

Black Beans and Beets with Orange Juice

And then the recipe goes crazy and has you make the most amazing thing in the world – a red wine reduction! It starts as wine…

Black Beans and Beets with Orange Juice

And reduces to a rich and concentrated wine syrup…

Black Beans and Beets with Orange Juice

The dish is garnished with cilantro and oranges and served over rice (or if you’re me and got a phone call while you were cooking and completely forgot about the rice, couscous).  It’s definitely a winner.  The addition of the beets is one of the suggested variations – beets are Gist’s favorite vegetable, so i couldn’t resist.

Black Beans with Beets and Orange Juice
Recipe courtesy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

  • 3 cups cooked or canned black beans with about 1 cup of their cooking liquid – I used 1 large can of black beans – it’s a bit more than 3 cups.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of peeled, chopped beets – I used 1 large beet.  The other two were roasted to use in salads or for snacking.
  • 1 orange, well washed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, preferably red or yellow, peeled if desired, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

1. Put the beans and their liquid in a pot over medium heat, add the beets, cumin and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

2. Halve the orange. Peel one half, and add the peel to the beans.  Then divide those sections (or chop) and set aside.  Squeeze the juice out of the other half and set aside.

3. Put the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, occasionally, until the pepper softens, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute more.  Add to the beans.

4. Turn the heat under the skillet to high and add the red wine to the skillet.  Cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add to the beans along with the reserved orange juice.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve with rice, garnished with the reserved orange sections and cilantro, or store covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.

I think this dish would be amazing with CSA beets and peppers!

I was a bit of a cooking fiend on Monday – I made sesame-cornmeal bread, granola, a lemon-lavender sorbet, and this dish *phew*  I’ll be sharing those recipes, as well as the recipe for mac-n-cheese and roasted green beans that we had for supper last night as the week goes on.  Cheers!

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3 thoughts on “Black Beans with Beets & Orange Juice

  1. That is certainly a pretty dish…and sounds delicious to boot!

  2. Mariannika, I want your blog in my kitchen. Unfortunately that’s not currently possible. I may have to print out every post and bind them up and add them to my cookbook shelf. This looks *so* good.

  3. This sounds amazing. I have to try this! Thanks 🙂

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