Beans; beautiful, bountiful, benevolent.

illustration from a book of fairy tales,

From the moment someone read me Jack & the Beanstalk, I knew with absolute certainty that I would never look at beans the same way again.

Although I’ve yet to experience Jack’s adventure in the everyday realm, I’m sure on many levels—mostly the Joseph Campbell kind—I’ve taken that ride ad nauseum.

That is not to say I’ve any trouble eating the protein powerhouse. Beans are so purely magical, it’s hard to pinpoint their finest features. But here’s a quick list:

  1. They’re a Big Time protein source. Muscle-making mechanics.
  2. They have Fabulous Fiber. We used to call it roughage. I think that went into the same ‘outdated word box’ as garanimals.
  3. Beans have a low glycemic index = slow burn. Think of beans in your belly as a Yule Log in your fuel furnace. You won’t need to split and stack wood for a good chunk of time.
  4. Beans give you a little R&R; that is, they raise your leptin levels and reduce your appetite. As a bonus, it’s like giving your metabolism its own cheerleading squad. Burn, baby, burn!
  5. Look at the nutrients. These guys have more vitamins than the alphabet has letters. Yes, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I think you get my point. With a heaping dose of calcium, potassium, folate and myriad B vitamins, beans are determined to make a wide berth around health problems that suggest you start picking out the lining for your casket.
  6. Beans are like baby chicks. Cheap, cheap, cheap. (No need to tell me how lame that last joke is–I’m simply trying to make a point.)
  7. There is an emporium of choice. There have got to be as many varieties of beans as there are days in the year. At least. Trust me, you’ll be gobsmacked at the flavor profiles, the extraordinary colors, the textures and their versatility when it comes to recipes.
  8. Beans are a decorator’s dream. Again, with all the variation in color, shape and size, you can make crafts to your heart’s content. Fill vases, glue on candles, make jewelry, create a chair, teach arithmetic, create a collage, or plant a project. Go wild. Think big. Be bold.

Beans are awesome. And I’m highlighting them in my adaptation of a recipe I ran across at my local Whole Foods Market. I hope they’ll be a big hit. In fact, go ahead and trade in that old cow. Bring home some beans.

Octoberfest Appaloosa Beans

(Serves 4)

3 cups Appaloosa Beans

8 cups water

12 oz. Stoudt’s Oktoberfest (any good strong chocolate stout would be great)

3 tsp. peanut oil

1 large red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 fresh serranos, chopped (skip if your diners prefer a little less tongue on fire feeling)

1 tsp. dark chili powder

1 tsp. smoked paprika

Salt to taste

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

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  1. Put beans and water in a crock pot overnight on low heat.
  2. Drain the beans and return them to the crock pot. Cover them with the water, beer and remaining ingredients apart from the salt.
  3. Allow the beans to simmer over low heat for the day. (I had mine cook for 8 hours)
  4. The beans should be soft but should keep their shape. If the beans are too soupy, use a potato masher to mash beans to desired consistency.
  5. Add your salt.
  6. Serve with tortillas, alongside sautéed sausages, as a side dish to fajitas, or freeze/refrigerate for later use.

Promise to make more.

Now don’t forget to head on over to the main post (here) to see what I’m bletherin’ on about this week. And check out what we’re talkin’ bout down at the pub (here) too!

 

Don't hold back ... Hail and Speak!

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