Recently I've been trying to consume more beans and fiber. Since switching to a gluten free diet I haven't been getting enough even with my increased consumption of vegetables. This was primarily spurred by my discovery of the nutritionist Karen Hurd's website that outlines the wonderful health benefits of beans. She discusses how beans clean toxins from the body via the liver and all of the successes she has had treating her clients with them.
When I set out to do this, I was determined to avoid canned beans. I didn't want to risk BPA overexposure since I already have hormone instability. I know there are some brands without BPA, but to be extra sure I thought I should just stick with dried beans since it was a food I would be consuming frequently.
I soon found out that making a pot of beans that wasn't flavorless required a bit of skill. Not only do you have to add a lot of spices in the correct amounts, but including meat was pretty essential. In addition, I am pretty strict about eating sugar and didn't want to add any to my mixture. So I started with black beans flavored with southwestern spices because its hard to go wrong with chili powder and cumin. However, I still had to use excessive amounts of bone broth to keep the mixture flavorful.
This irked me a bit because I don't make bone broth very frequently so I like to hoard my stock. I just couldn't seem to make dried beans taste good! Luckily, I decided to experiment with a reduction sauce of white wine and vinegar to add some more taste. To my surprise, it turned out really lovely. I honestly expected to ruin the beans and have a horrible tasting goopy mess to deal with. I used beet vinegar instead of corn vinegar and also found that that was a useful addition. The beets actually sweeten the beans perfectly so I didn't need to add any sugar afterward.
As for the beet vinegar: I don't know if this is sold in stores. I fermented my own. I used a few probiotic pills as starters and left some chopped beets in salt water out on the counter for about a week. Be careful about mold. It is good to start with a small batch of liquid so the bacteria can make vinegar quickly enough to prevent mold from growing. Warming the mixture a bit (no more than 90 degrees or so, you don't want to kill the bacteria) and keeping the vegetables below the liquid surface helps prevent mold growth.
Of course you can instead just throw some beets in vinegar and sit them on the counter for about a week. This is way easier.
- 1 bag dried red kidney beans
- 1/2 cup white cooking wine
- 1/2 cup beet vinegar (I just ferment my own)
- a few strips of pork back fat or ~ 4 pieces of thick cut bacon
- 2 tbsp meat grease or drippings (if you don't get enough grease from the meat that is)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 of a sweet onion
- fresh ginger ~1/4 cube inch of peeled root
- 1/2 cup of bone broth
- 1-2 tsp celery salt
- 3 pinches of cumin, allspice, turmeric, and marjoram (not sure if these add much, but they didn't ruin the mix)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- water to cover beans
- To start, fry the pork or bacon in the meat drippings until crispy over medium heat.
- Cut up the onions, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until soft.
- Add the wine and vinegar and reduce (over medium heat still) until only a thin coating of the sauce remains (usu when ~1/8 in of liquid evenly coats the bottom of the pan). The sauce is done when the tartness and bitterness become mild to taste.
- Reduce the heat to low and add kidney beans then cover entirely with water.
- Add broth and spices to taste and simmer until the beans are of the desired softness usu~3 hours.
- You might need to add water as you keep cooking as the beans will swell.
How do you know if you aren't getting enough fiber? Check for these signs. Especially if they appear after you begin a gluten-free diet.