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Refried Black Bean Tamale Filling

There is no better partner for delicate corn tamale dough than Mark Miller's glossy, refried beans. A world removed from the sludge too often served in combo platters, these beans are almost impossible to stop "tasting."

For the beans:

11 1/4 ounces (typical box size) dried black beans, soaked in 4 quarts of water overnight
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/2 large onion
2 small jalapeño peppers, cut lengthwise and seeded
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
4 quarts water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the filling:
6 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic
3/4 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
3 cups cooked black beans
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

To prepare the beans: Drain soaked beans and put back into kettle with the cumin, coriander, oregano, onion, .jalapeños, bay leaves, peppercorns, water and tomato paste. Simmer on low for 2 hours. Add salt and continue cooking an hour more or until beans are completely soft and just starting to fall apart. Fish out onion and bay leaves and discard.

To prepare the filling: Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy. Add garlic and onion and cook over low heat until translucent and soft. Remove bacon, garlic and onion with a slotted spoon and purée in food processor, together with beans and vinegar. Reheat bacon fat in pan, pour in purée and fry over low heat until mixture holds it shape gently on a spoon, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Makes filling for about 20 medium tamales.

Adapted from "Coyote CafeŽ" by Mark Miller

Thursday, January 06, 2000

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