2 cups black, red kidney, or other dry beans, sorted and soaked per package instructions
2 teaspoons epazote, optional
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
3 onions, finely diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 to 3 tablespoons ground red chili
2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes, juice reserved
1 to 2 teaspoons pureed chipotle chili
¼ cup chopped cilantro
dash red wine or sherry vinegar
For garnish, optional: sour cream; 1 poblano or long green chili, roasted, peeled, and sliced; cilantro sprigs
Drain the beans. Put them in a soup pot, add the epazote and fresh water to cover by 4 inches, and boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove any surface scum. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered. While the beans are cooking, toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. When they are fragrant, add the oregano, shaking the pan so that the herbs don’t burn, for about 5 seconds. Turn them onto a plate to cool, then grind to a powder.
Sauté the onions in the oil in a skillet over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, the cumin mixture, paprika, and ground chili. Lower the heat and cook until the onions are soft, another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice, 1 teaspoon chipotle puree, and the cilantro. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add this mixture to the beans.
Continue cooking until the beans are completely soft, about 30 minutes altogether, making sure the water level stays at least an inch or two above them. Taste and season with more chipotle puree and salt, if needed, and add a dash of vinegar. Ladle the beans into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of sour cream, the sliced chili, and a sprig of cilantro.
From The NEW VEGETRIAN COOKING for EVERYONE by Deborah Madison, Ten Speed Press, Berkley, California, 2014, page 288.