Biba Baked Beans

Biba Baked Beans

1 Cup dried kidney beans
1/2 Cup dried cannellini beans
1/2 Cup dried Great Northern beans
2 Sprigs fresh thyme
4 T olive oil.
1 Large onion – chopped
1 carrot – chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 T cumin seeds – toasted
1/2 c crushed canned tomatoes
4 ripe plum tomatoes
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c light brown sugar
1 bay leaf
grated rind of 1 orange
1/2 T crushed peppercorn
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 c water, or vegetable stock
1/4 c cider vinegar
salt, to taste

Place beans in a bowl. Cover with cold water by 2 inches, add thyme and let soak overnight, at least 4 hours. Heat a heavy 2- to 3-quart casserole. Add oil. Saute onion and carrot for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and carrot soft. Add jalapeno pepper, garlic and cumin seeds, and cook a few minutes longer. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Drain beans, and add to the casserole, together with tomatoes, syrup, brown sugar, bay leaf, orange rind, peppercorns, cilantro, and water or stock.

Cover, and bring to a slow simmer. Place casserole in oven, and cook for 1 hour. Add vinegar and salt. Cook 1 hour longer, until liquid has been absorbed, but the beans are still moist. Adjust seasoning – salt and pepper, and up to 2 more Tbl. vinegar. Garnish with additional cilantro. To toast cumin seed, heat a small saucepan, add the cumin and heat, shaking the pan, until the seeds begin to pop and smell toasty.

Biba Restaurant, Boston

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