Smitten Kitchen cookbook adventures (4)

#5: Slow cooker black bean ragout

Apparently a ragout is a main-dish stew (related to the Italian ragu), usually cooked long and slow. Now you know!

This is a basic bean dish, probably not that different from one you’d find in any veggie or vegan cookbook, and that’s exactly what I wanted for post-Thanksgiving. It does come with some interesting suggested extras like lime-pickled red onions (I used the onions I pickled with the celery for the potato salad) and cumin crema (I used some of the Greek yogurt I had from the galette), and it was nice to be inspired to take the toppings up a notch. The result was tasty in an understated way and super easy — you just chop the onions and mince or crush the garlic, then put everything (onions, garlic, beans, spices) into the crock pot to cook. No presoaking required!

My crockpot cooked the beans in about five hours on high, and I turned it down to low while I made some rice once they were done, because I didn’t want to make the garlic toasts she suggests (the recipe also says you can put the beans in anything you want — including tacos, which after my breakfast taco experiences in Austin, sounds awesome). I served it over rice with scallions, cilantro, avocado (thanks to Whole Foods 5/$5 ‘Black Friday’ special), and the onions and crema.

One bowl of it was totally satisfying and tasty. I’m going to have it for dinner again tonight, and I’ll probably make it again in the near future, starting it in the morning and running it on low while I’m at work. I don’t often make full meals in my crockpot but I’d like to do more. And I’ve made black beans in the crockpot before, even from a cookbook recipe (Vegan Lunchbox, if I remember correctly) but I preferred this one to any other that I’ve made. So it definitely needs to go into the regular rotation, unlike most of the recipes I’ve tried so far which have been great but mostly on the complicated side (except the kale salad which I also want to make again).

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