Today I’m going to share a recipe for sweet and spicy black beans although I can’t claim ownership for creating it. It was taken from a cookbook given to me by my Aunt Ann entitled Recipes from Baja. It was put together by the East Cape Guild of Baja California Sur, Mexico where my aunt and uncle now spend about about half their time during the year.
Before I share the recipe, I have to share a little bit about my Aunt Ann (or AA; double A as she is referred to by family and friends), because she’s a pretty amazing woman by all standards. One of the many reasons I say this is because my aunt is an oarsman on the Colorado River. She guides people down the Grand Canyon and has been doing so with her husband for almost 35 years now.
I have always been in awe of her ability to just get out there and do what she loves. She was one of the first women to professionally guide people down the Grand Canyon. She does her job really well and she is extremely respected within the rafting community. She has taken all levels of people down the river including politicians, movie stars, sports stars and, of course, little ‘ol me. Here is a picture of her on the river with Tom Cruise (this was before he married Nicole Kidman and went a bit off the edge of reality).
I was fortunate enough to be able to take a river trip with my aunt and uncle when I was a junior in high school. It was an eighteen day trip, completely paid for. All I needed to do was help out around camp and assist the research group that was taking the trip with us. They were studying the humpback chub (a fish for all you non-biologist types out there) and it was right up my alley as I was planning to go to college for a degree in Wildlife Biology. I’ll never forget how amazing that trip was. Many people only dream of having the opportunity to take such a trip and I was fortunate enough to get the chance.
My aunt and uncle have since “semi” retired from the rafting business although they still take the occasional trip down the river and run their own company selling custom whitewater rafting gear. If you’re ever in the market, you can check out her company, The Summit.
A big portion of their time is now spent down in Baja California where they own their own piece of land on the ocean. No home on it, just a trailer and a boat for marlin fishing. And they relish every minute of it. They love Baja and I love that they want to share a piece of the culture with us.
The cookbook they passed on to us has so many amazing recipes in it, including the bean recipe I’m going to share with you today. I hope to share more recipes from this cook book in the future and when I do, I’m sure I will think of my aunt and what an amazing woman she is. Here’s a picture of them taken in 2006 with my middle son, Alex.
And now, without further ado, the Sweet and Spicy Black Bean recipe. Here’s what you’ll need to put them together. Keep in mind when you’re looking at this recipe, that it puts together a really large batch so if you’re cooking for a smaller group you might want to cut the recipe in half.
Another thing to note is that I was trying to whip these up quickly while simultaneously putting all three kids to bed before all the guests arrived for the Cinco de Mayo cooking club, so I ran out of time to take my step by step pictures for these. I apologize for dropping the ball today (or the camera as the case may be!)
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
2 Medium Onions, Finely Chopped
1-2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, Seeded and finely Chopped
4 15oz. Cans of Black Beans
1 28 Oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes with Basil Garlic and Oregano, Undrained
1/3 Cup of Honey
1/3 Cup of Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Tsp of Gnger
1 Tsp of Salt
Grab a large frying pan and heat your olive oil on medium high heat. To the heated oil add your onions and stir. Cook the onions for 5 minutes and then turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Your onions should cook down to about half of what you started with and they should be a nice golden brown color.
While your onions are cooking, chop up the jalapeno’s and garlic and set to the side. Drain and rinse your black beans and add them all to a large pot on medium heat. Along with the beans add your tomatoes, honey, brown sugar, ginger and salt.
After your onions have cooked for an additional 15-20 minutes, add in the jalapeno and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then add the onion mixture in with the beans and heat through until hot.
There is also a note from the cookbook that says you don’t necessarily have to cook your onions for 20 minutes but this will make the dish if you do. Those golden browned onions will impart a wonderful sweet flavor you won’t want to miss.
Here’s my finished pot hot on the stove and ready to be served up:
And here’s a picture of a serving about to be given to Andrew. The kid tore these up. It looked like a bean massacre when he was done. The final product:
Sweet and Spicy Black Beans
Total Time: 30 min
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Onions, Finely Chopped
1-2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, Seeded and Chopped
4 15 Oz.Cans Black Beans
1 28 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes with Basil Garlic and Oregano, Undrained
1/3 Cup Honey
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Salt
Grab a large frying pan and heat your olive oil on medium high heat.
To the heated oil add your onions and stir.
Cook the onions for 5 minutes and then turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes stirring frequently so they don't burn. Your onions should cook down to about half of what you started with and they should be a nice golden brown color.
While your onions are cooking, chop up the jalapeno's and garlic and set to the side.
Drain and rinse your black beans and add them all to a large pot on medium heat.
Along with the beans add your tomatoes, honey, brown sugar, ginger and salt.
After your onions have cooked for an additional 15-20 minutes, add in the jalapeno and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the onion mixture in with the beans and heat through until hot.
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Great recipe and man I'm jealous– TOM CRUISE?? Seriously. Wow. He's young there too.
Wow! Tom Cruise! Love the 2nd picture, too. And the recipe sounds amazing. I'm starving right now. *lol*
Thank you for stopping by and making my SITS day so fabulous!
Jamie, No problem! You have a great blog!
Alicia, I know, seriously. I live vicariously through them. Let's just say my star encounters are a bit more "b" list then theirs.
We absolutely love black beans. This looks like an interesting twist on one of our favorite ingredients.
Perfect black bean recipe. Looks so yummy with all those garlic, pepper, onion .
Ma What's 4 dinner says
Ok, when I read double A, I of course immediately thought of boob size. What is wrong with me???? This looks great!
Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's for Dinner
Hi julie! I am afraid I did not receive the design form… I'm not sure why it has not cone through as there have never been any problems with the form. If you would not mind trying it again OR feel free to email me instead at email@example.com. Emma
Me, Myself and Pie says
I've actually been looking for a good black been dish lately. Thanks! This looks great!
Alex, you crack me up as always.
Pie, glad you like the looks of it!
Chandani, Thanks for the nice compliment, I appreciate it!
Stephanie, it's really good. two of my three boys ate them all and asked for seconds.
Black beans are so good! I love this recipe!
I loved reading about your Aunt Ann. My all-time favorite "family vacation" was our 7-day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon after my junior year in college. My dad chartered the trip about 3 years in advance and all 30 people who went were family or close friends. We had such a great time! My dad has booked another trip for two summers from now (I think) when my brother's twins will be old enough to go. I can't wait! I hope my own kids enjoy it as much as we all did back then.
The black bean recipe sounds fabulous. What did you sprinkle over the top in the last picture? Cotija? Feta? Also, did your boys eat it as a main dish?
Eloise, Wow! That sounds like quite a trip. I'd love to have another opportunity to do it again. I'll bet your kids will love it. Are you going on the upper end or the lower end of the river?
With regards to the cheese on top, I sprinkled some queso blanco that I picked up at our local Mexican grocery store. I hadn't used it before but had had it at Mexican restaurants. I like how mild it is; it goes well with the beans.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
It's been so long since that trip that I honestly can't remember if we were on the upper or lower end. I'm guessing the lower since we didn't start right at the Lake Powell dam. As I recall, we departed our boats at Lee's Ferry.
I definitely think my oldest and youngest children will love the trip next summer. I'm trying to decide whether to take our middle child, Vivian, or not. Vivian is mentally retarded. I think she would enjoy the boat ride and the rapids, but she is not a strong swimmer and I worry about her not sleeping well on the cot and getting up during the night and endangering herself. I think that I am leaning toward leaving her at home with one of her teachers, but I also worry about being completely unreachable for a week (Vivian has epilepsy). Just thinking out loud here!
Heading to the store today to buy the things to make the black beans tonight. Am thinking I'll just serve them with some grilled chicken and a green salad?
I think that sounds perfect. what time should I be there? 🙂
With regards to Vivian, I'm sure you'll make the right decision for her. I am always worrying about my kids around water because they are not strong swimmers. The rapids would definitely add to it. Heck, I'm afraid of my swimming skills in some of the bigger ones!
Have a great time and let me know how the beans turned out! Send me a picture if you're up to it and I'll link back to you.
Oh, and I just realized I forgot to answer your question about the boys eating the beans. Andrew had them for lunch a few days along with the left over taqueria rice I made along side the beans (he's 15 months). Alex pretty much just ate them as a side to dinner a couple nights.
These beans were a big hit at my house last night! I took pictures and am going to post about them (and link to you giving you credit, of course!). Hopefully I'll get that done tomorrow (but don't hold your breath – with graduating-senior activities in addition to the usual end-of-school hoopla, things are a bit crazy around here).
Is your taqueria rice recipe on your blog? Thanks for all your help!
Brenda De Sousa says
Thank you so much for participating in my Cookbook Sundays! Love the story of your Aunt Ann and the pic of Tom Cruise cracked me up. Gosh, he looks so young there. Your beans sounds scrumptious, thanks for sharing!