This dish features the chocolaty flavor of ancho chilies.
9 ounces dried Appaloosa beans or pinto beans
4 ancho chilies or 3 tablespoons ancho powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, sliced very thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 dried chipotle chili
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups drained canned tomatoes, broken into chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup packed, minced fresh cilantro
1 cup sour cream
1. Cook beans according to the basic instructions.
2. While beans are cooking, prepare the ancho chili purée: If you're using whole chilies, toast them in a 200 degrees oven for 5 minutes, remove seeds and stems, and soak in 1 cup hot water for 15 minutes. In a food processor, process the chilies to a thin purée with half the soaking water. If you're using the ancho chili powder, mix it with 1/2 cup of water.
3. In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, heat the vegetable oil. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the chili purée or the chili powder-water mixture, chipotle, and ground cumin. Add the tomatoes, stir up the bottom of the pan, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes.
4. When the beans are done, drain them in a colander and add them to the sauce. Stir well. (If the dish seems dry, add a little water and simmer for another 2 minutes.) Remove the chipotle, and add the salt. Top each serving with cilantro and sour cream.
This dish features the chocolaty flavor of ancho chilies. To get that flavor, you can either use the dried whole chilies, or - because several purveyors are now offering chili powders made from specific chilies - you could use ancho chili powder. The dried chilies take a little more work, but provide a richer flavor. You can enjoy these beans as a vegetarian main course over rice, or as a filling for burritos or tacos. They also go well with grilled meats. Serves 4 as a main course.