The spice and cocoa blend used in this recipe is based on an authentic Mexican dark red mole recipe I found. The blend of smoky chipotle, sweet cinnamon and savory cumin and herbs compliments the rich, meaty quality of the kidney beans-
Kidney Beans: Sweet and Savory Stewed Kidney Beans
*You can use pre-ground spices instead of whole ones but the flavor won’t be as rich. You should use the thin, papery sticks of cassia cinnamon- the thick bark pieces can destroy a spice grinder. Save the thick pieces of cassia for mulled wine or cider. Thai chilies (or peri peri peppers) will give this dish some heat. If you want something less spice use ancho chilies or cayennes. Also ¼ tsp of stevia powder (or other sugar substitutes) can be used instead of brown sugar.
*I just pureed the raisins with the tomatoes. Other dried fruit like prunes or dates would also work.
*For a non-vegetarian version ground beef (lightly browned) would work well in this recipe. I would add it after the beans have become tender as they take quite awhile to cook. And on that note make sure to simmer/boil the beans for at least half an hour- kidney beans contain phytotoxins that can cause gastric upset (think extreme wind breaking). Thouroughly cooking the beans destroys these toxins. Pre-soaking them with baking soda also helps.
- 2 cups dried dark red kidney beans
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 2 3” sticks cassia cinnamon
- 2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp allspice berries, oregano, black peppercorns and thyme
- ½ tsp cloves
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1-2 Thai chilies (opt)
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp each ground chipotle and paprika
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
- 3-5 bay leaves
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup raisins, mashed or pureed
- 6-7 ripe tomatoes (or a 15 oz can of tomatoes) chopped fine or pureed
- 1 tbsp sea or Himilayan salt (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar (or to taste)
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- cooked brown rice
- sour cream,
- shredded sharp cheddar cheese, finely chopped jalapenos (deseeded) and thinly sliced green onions plus additional black pepper, cumin and chipotle for garnish
- Soak beans at least overnight (24 hours is even better) in cold water with baking soda. Drain beans and rinse in several changes of water
- Grind cinnamon, cumin, allspice, oregano, peppercorns, thyme, cloves, nutmeg and Thai chilies (if using) into a fine powder in a spice grinder. Place in a bowl and mix in cocoa and chili powders. Set aside.
- Melt butter in the large pot over medium heat. Add onion and bay leaves and sauté until the onion softens and begins to caramelize.
- Crush garlic and add that to the pot. Sauté the garlic for 30 sec or until fragrant and beginning to turn golden. Do not brown/burn the garlic.
- Add raisins, tomatoes and ground spice mixture to the pot and simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until gravy is thick.
- Add beans, water to cover (and a little extra depending on how soupy you want this dish), a tsp of salt and the sugar.
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer 40-60 min or until the beans are very tender. Mash a cup of the cooked beans into a fine paste and return them to the stew. Continue to simmer, uncovered for about 20 min until stew is very thick. Remove from heat, add salt to taste and then stir in the cilantro.
- To serve, spoon over rice, add a dollop of sour cream and mix thoroughly. Garnish with shredded cheese, jalapenos, green onions and a dusting of ground cumin, cinnamon, chipotle and some freshly cracked black pepper.