CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL BLACK BEANS

With over 1,400 units and counting, Chipotle Mexican Grill is one of the top ten fastest-growing chains in the country and the biggest Mexican food chain behind Taco Bell. But unlike the typical fast-food model, servers at Chipotle build you a custom burrito or bowl with your choice of the meats, sides, and sauces on display in front of you. With this new recipe and the two that follow, you can now build your own burritos or bowls at home that taste just like those from the chain. Or maybe you just want a good side of mildly spicy black beans to go along with another dish you have in mind.

I tried everything I could think of to speed up the process for cloning the great black beans served at Chipotle Mexican Grill, but the only way to duplicate the slightly al dente texture of the chain’s dish is to use dry beans, and dry beans must rehydrate in water for 24 hours before they’re ready for the saucepan. The chipotle chili–flavored cooking liquid is the secret to making these beans taste great. Use canned chipotle chilies here, but before you chop them, rinse away the adobo sauce they usually come packed in. You can use store-bought ground cumin in this recipe, but if you want ground cumin that tastes just like what Chipotle uses, you’ll want to toast whole cumin seeds over medium/low heat for 10 minutes (as described in the recipe here), then grind the seeds to powder in a coffee/spice grinder. This technique will make your beans taste best . . . and, as a bonus, your kitchen will smell great.

1 pound dry black beans
2 cups water
¼ cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilies (rinsed)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves


Cooking method

1-Pour the beans into a colander and sort through them for anything that shouldn’t be in there like tiny rocks or unicorn teeth. Rinse the beans thoroughly, then pour them into a bowl and cover with water (about 8 cups). Let the beans soak for 24 hours.

2-The next day, when you are ready to make the beans, combine all of the ingredients except the bay leaves and black beans in a blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds or just until tiny bits of chilies are visible.

3-Drain the water from the beans and pour them into a 3-quart saucepan. Pour the chipotle cooking liquid into the pot, add the bay leaves, cover, and bring the beans to a boil over medium heat. When the beans are bubbling, reduce the heat to low and let the beans cook for 1 hour or until tender but slightly al dente.

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