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Spicy Black Beans ‘n Beef for dinner tonight

Recipe boxIt was 4:30 and I needed to come up with something fast for dinner. Preferably something that could simmer by itself, unattended, while I got back to my writing. Inspired by a jar of Gluten Free Pantry’s Caribbean Jerk Spice, leftover from my (now no longer) gluten-free grocery, this is what I threw together. Also, I am a great fan of black beans, but am always happy to see the end of the pot after living on Cuban Black Bean Soup (recipe to come) for four days. Black beans are absolutely delicious, but I find that it is possible to over-do them.

I am happy to report that the recipe experiment was a success: hubby went for seconds. As I am on a perpetual quest for weight-loss, I restrained myself and was satisfied with a single serving.

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced crudely
4 medium or 2 large stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1-1/4 lbs. organic (& Kosher) lean ground beef
3 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cups water
2-3 Tbs. Gluten Free Pantry’s Caribbean Jerk Spice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

In a lidded soup pot, saute the onion, celery and garlic in olive oil. Keep heat on low, place lid on pot, and allow to simmer for 15 mins. or until veggies are translucent.
Add beef, crumbling and stirring it, allowing it to blend completely with the veggies. Stir every few minutes, continuing to break it up so that it will marry with the onions, celery and garlic. When beef has browned, add the spices, tomato paste and water. Stir until tomato paste has blended completely and what you have is a saucey consistency.

Put the lid on the pot, turn heat to super-low, and allow it to do its own thing for 20-30 minutes.
Serve over rice, pasta or baked potato (a sweet potato would be a delicious combination). Sprinkle with 1 Tbs. fresh-grated parmesan cheese (if you eat dairy), and voilah!

Notes from my kitchen:

  • Over the past few years I have converted to using as much organic produce and ingredients as financially and logistically possible. I do believe that the nutritional benefits are worth it. And often the taste and flavor are remarkably better, too.
  • I’m a big one for improvising. For example, if you are not a meat eater and have actually read this far and you would like to make a vegetarian version of the recipe, my suggestion would be to try tempeh in place of the beef, so that you still get some solid chunky mass in contrast to the sauce and beans.