Friday, August 23, 2013

White Bean Tacos

So, I have a confession to make.

About a month ago, a storm knocked out power to our house for almost forty-eight hours. When it became clear that the power wasn't coming back any time soon, I packed the meat into coolers with ice and took them to my in-laws' house, where at least they would be in the air conditioning (she only has the one side-by-side freezer and it's so packed I can barely fit a bottle of milk in there for when she watches T-Rex, so our food clearly wasn't going to fit in the actual freezer).

Luckily everything still seemed pretty frozen by the time our power came back and we could get it back to our freezer, but for various logistical reasons, the DDH took the meat back on his way to work. And since he was in a rush, he just piled everything, still wet from the ice in the cooler, into the freezer in no particular order.

This was about a month ago, and I still haven't managed to go out and reorganize the thing. Every time I need some meat or chicken broth or whatever, I have to pry it apart since everything is frozen together in big chunks. Sometimes the plastic rips and then I have to use up two things of meat. The freezer itself has big weird chunks of ice in it, because it's old and not frost free and all the frost melted and then refroze, sometimes around the meat that was put back in.

It's a mess. And so, honestly, I've kind of been avoiding cooking meals with meat in them, because it's such a project to find what I want and pry it out.

Hence these white bean tacos. They are actually quite delicious and DDH approved, but I'll be doubling the recipe next time since this only made enough for five or six tacos and we needed at least eight to cover dinner and lunch the next day.

You can also include some wilted spinach with the beans if you have those lying around.

A Note on Salt: I used dried beans that I had previously cooked and frozen, which are not salted. I wrote 1 teaspoon in the recipe but I think I might have used closer to two. If you are using canned beans, you may wish to start with less salt and add more to taste, since even rinsed, canned beans are more salty than dried.

White Bean Tacos

Gluten free (with corn tortillas)
Dairy free
Vegetarian (depending on tortillas) 
Vegan (depending on tortillas)

Heat 1 Tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat.

Add 1 onion, vertically sliced, and saute five minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add 4 cloves garlic, minced and saute thirty seconds.

Add 2 cups white beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed) (cannellini are perfect), 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir. Cook two minutes or until beans are thoroughly heated. Feel free to let it simmer longer while you prepare the salsa, especially if there's still some liquid from the beans. Just be sure to turn the heat to low and stir occasionally so the beans don't burn.

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 jalapeno, sliced, and 1 Tablespoon lime juice. You can add either fresh cilantro here or two teaspoons dried cilantro to the beans.

Warm flour or corn tortillas. You can do this by covering them with a damp paper towel and microwaving for about thirty seconds, or, if you prefer them crispy and delicious (my preferred method), heat in a dry skillet for two minutes or so on each side (you'll have to check to make sure they brown and don't burn). This is how I prep tortillas for just about everything I make and I much prefer it to the microwave method, but since you have to do it one at a time it does take longer if you're cooking for a crowd.

Fill each taco with bean mixture. Grate cheese (we usually use Colby-Jack) onto each serving, then top with a spoonful or two of salsa.


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