I have been on a South American kick lately..... I wanted some homemade black beans the other day and actually remembered to start soaking the beans in advance. While they were soaking and I was doing other things I decided to go Brazilian in theme with the final presentation, Feijoada, the Brazilian national dish.
The beans were simple..... Buy a bag of black beans and follow the instructions on the bag!!! I always reinforce the disclaimer on the bag about the black beans being a natural product that try as they may, occasionally dirt clods and rocks get missed!!!! If you like your teeth take a minute and look through, I have found many natural non bean items over the years! Back to cooking, I like to add two bay leaves and a couple of dried whole cayenne chilis. When the beans are finished cooking, I take about 5 teeth of garlic(minced) and one half onion(small diced) and saute' then add to the beans, along with 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke. I also lightly mash the beans with a potato masher to help thicken the beans.
I served the beans with Jasmine rice, reconstituted Bacos(yes I take Bacos and add a bit of water and put in the microwave for about a minute, makes nice little smokey bits). Then I topped the beans and rice with green onions, cilantro and Farofa.
What is Farofa you ask? Farofa is manioc/cassava/tapioca that is dried and coarse ground like corn meal, I take the manioc and toast it in a skillet with garlic. When it is toasted it turns golden brown and has nice earthy flavor and adds a bit of crunch to the mixture. I have had good luck finding manioc in natural foods stores and online at specialty South American food stores.
Now had I really been on the ball I would have made fried bananas and served with collard greens and orange wedges, but all said and done it was pretty darned good.