Tuesday, April 21, 2009

serbianesque beans

We decided to make some bean-based dish last week. I've had an aversion to using dried beans, because I've been too impatient with them in the past. But I trudged through the pantry and found an incredibly old and suspect bag of black beans. Their age made me uncomfortable (not usual), so I disposed of them and selected some pinto beans. I soaked them for several days until I remembered them and we were hungry.

My mom makes delicious Serbian beans, so I decided to replicate them. I consulted my trusty Serbian Women's Auxiliary of St. Michael's Church (Saratoga, California) cookbook, but couldn't find the recipe in the index. (Yes, I realize it's in there, but couldn't locate it at the time). I poked around on the internets and found a few references that guided me (particularly this one: http://eastethnia.blogspot.com/2005/10/beans.html). It definitely turned out better than my previous attempts at making beans from scratch and tasted way better than canned beans. I still have a long way to go to match my mom's though. It looks kind of gloppy, but I swear it is tasty!

Here is an attempt at constructing the recipe. I will make a better effort at keeping track next time!

A few cups of beans - maybe 4 dry cups? (I used pinto but feel free to experiment)
Several more cups of water

Olive oil
2 Carrots
1 Large Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Celery Stalk

~2 Tablespoons of olive oil
~1 Tablespoon of flour
~1 Tablespoon of paprika

Put the beans in a pot. Cover them with a few inches of water. Let them soak overnight. Don't forget about them.

Replace the beany water with clean water (use the old water for gardening?)
Boil those beans for at least an hour and a half. I'd go a little longer - mine were kind of hard.

While the beans are boiling, sautee the veggies.

Next, make the zaprška (essential!). Heat the oil in a different pan, then slam the flour and paprika in the oil. Mix it around for a few minutes.

Put the zaprška in the veggie pan and turn down the heat until the beans are ready. Toss the veggies in the bean pot. Let them hang out for a few minutes - maybe 10. You might want to toss in a bay leaf or two. Salt to taste.


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