This simple recipe comes from Deborah Madison's "The Savory Way," an essential cookbook for any vegetarian (or semi- vegetarian) cook. Anasazi beans are speckled with purple and white and are related to the more well-known pinto bean. They can be used interchangeably with pinto beans although pinto beans may take a bit longer to cook. In this recipe, the beans are cooked with coriander seeds and juniper berries which create an intriguing aroma reminiscent of the American Southwest. Juniper berries are the deep purple fruit of the juniper bush. They have a distinctive pine flavor with a peppery aftertaste. You can find juniper berries in the spice section of specialty food markets.
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Anasazi Beans
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2 cups dried anasazi or pinto beans
10 coriander seeds
8 juniper berries
1 tablespoon vegetable or light olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground red chile
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2-1/2 quarts water

Cooking Instructions

Sort through the beans, rinse them well, cover with cold water, and set aside for six hours or overnight.

Bruise the seeds and berries lightly in a mortar. Warm the oil in a wide-bottomed soup pot. Add the onions, coriander seeds, juniper berries, chile and oregano. Cook together over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with the fresh water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Add salt to taste and continue cooking until the beans are tender (probably another 30 minutes or so.) When done, check the seasonings. Serve the beans in a bowl with the broth.

Makes 4 servings



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If you are pressed for time or have forgotten to soak the beans overnight, you can perform a quick soak. Cover the beans with cold water in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. After removing from the heat, let the beans stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain and then continue with the recipe as it is written.

You always want to add salt towards the end of cooking when preparing beans from scratch. Adding salt at the beginning can cause the skins of the beans to toughen making them more difficult to digest and less pleasant to eat.

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