Roman beans, also called borlotti or cranberry beans, turn a lovely pink in this preparation. Northern, kidney or black beans will work, too.
The truffle oil lends a bit of body and mystery; you'd swear there was bacon in these beans even though there isn't any. For a spicier dish, leave the seeds in the dried peppers.
The beans can be made up to 2 days in advance (and frozen, if desired). Reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
- 1 pound dried roman beans, such as Goya brand
- 2 dried pasilla or ancho chili peppers
- 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (2 to 3 medium cloves)
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil (optional)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 medium jalapeño pepper, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise; seeded for milder beans
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon smoky seasoning, such as Liquid Smoke
- 1 cup water, plus more as needed
- Brewed coffee (optional)
Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain and rinse them, discarding any foreign matter.
Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil over high heat; add the drained beans and cook for about 10 minutes, until almost tender (the beans will not be quite cooked through). Drain and place the beans in a 4- or 6-quart slow cooker.
Hold the dried peppers by their stems and suspend them over a low flame until they puff and char slightly. (This will take just a few seconds.) Cut off the stems and discard. Pour out and discard the seeds; add the dried peppers (whole) to the cooker. Add the onion, garlic, espresso powder, truffle oil if using, honey, jalapeno pepper, bay leaf, thyme, powdered mustard, salt, ketchup, smoky seasoning and water. Cover and cook the beans on low for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. The beans should still be slightly firm; cook them longer, if desired. If you prefer beans with more liquid, add water (or leftover brewed coffee) near the end of cooking. Discard the bay leaf before serving.
From Chef on Call columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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