After much deliberation we decided that the first dish to be made with my recently-harvested Cherokee Trail of Tears beans would be "Black Bean Nachos". Jane cooked this one, and she used as a guide a recipe in book called "1000 Low fat, salt, sugar,cholesterol, healthy recipes" published in 2001 by Parragon. [A catchy title, eh?]
The dish in the recipe is intended to be a starter, part of a larger meal, but Jane adapted it by adding more protein in the form of Chorizo spicy pork sausage, making it into a main dish for us, which we served with a "comprehensive" salad using lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes, radish, watercress, fennel etc.
Here are the ingredients lined up ready to start. Notice the (well-used) jar of ground Cumin.
The first stage was to cook the beans. The recipe says that for dried black beans you should boil them hard for 10 minutes and then simmer them for a further 90 minutes. Our beans were so fresh that they were ready in 30. Here they are, arranged in a layer about an inch deep in an ovenproof dish.
Next, Jane fried the diced Chorizo and added it to the beans.
Then she added a generous layer of grated Cheddar cheese, and sprinkled it with a fine dusting of ground cumin (about a quarter teaspoonful).
Then the dish goes into the oven (190C / 375F) until the cheese is melted and beginning to go brown (about 15 mins, but keep an eye on it and don't let it burn). Then out it comes, and is quickly spread with a thin layer of soured cream, sprinkled with shredded lettuce, decorated with tortilla chips - and that's it! Here's the finished item:
The recipe calls for sliced pickled Jalapenos (which we didn't have, and don't like) as a garnish, but in retrospect this dish cries out for a topping of bright red fresh chillies. Missed a trick there! Anyway, it was a nice tasty dish with a good balance of flavours and textures, especially the beans which were light and creamy.
On the other hand, our "comprehensive" salad was a complete disaster - spoiled by the addition of a creamy Blue Cheese and Cider dressing which we had bought with high hopes a few days earlier. It turned out to be horrible - tasting primarily of flour and having a repellent gritty texture. Still worse from my point of view it had a significant amount of Dill in it, and we both hate Dill at the best of times! We hadn't expected to find Dill in a Blue Cheese dressing. We only discovered all this after the dressing had been applied, so the salad was discarded uneaten. Interestingly, during this last week the product in question (which shall here remain nameless) has been recalled by the manufacturer as faulty...