Coast Cooking

Black beans are delicious when prepared this way

Black bean stew has a Cuban flair.
Black bean stew has a Cuban flair. Special to the Sun Herald

This week, I’m blogging about beans and peas and all legumes.

I don’t know of a more affordable way to feed a family or large group. A 1-pound bag of dried beans is just a dollar or two and can feed several people.

Black beans are one of my favorite varieties. My old friend Lyle Bongé taught me how to make them, along with countless other recipes, techniques and a fair education in the arts as well.

His basic and simple recipe uses more ham and garlic than you think possible.

So here we go. Cook two cups of chopped ham in oil until well-browned, remove and set aside. In the same pan, sauté a chopped onion in olive oil, along with a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and a pinch of cumin. Finely dice 6-8 cloves of garlic and sauté for just a minute or two. Burn the garlic and you will have to start all over again. Add the ham, 2-3 cups of dried beans, enough chicken or ham stock to cover, plus 2 cups and simmer, lid on, until tender.

Serve with steamed rice, or thick slices of French bread, slathered with garlic and butter and toasted brown and delicious.