January is always a lean month, a month in which we choose to spend eating whatever stuff is in the kitchen. We waste far too much food, so it is a great way to clear the covers and used up all those things we bought during the year and never ate. Take the freezer, for example, I don't know about yours, but my freezer is always full of food, things I bought I put there and then never quite found time or occasion to eat them or cook them. Every time I open the freezer, I feel super guilty that there is so much food there! There's also this particular couple of covers, where most of my dry goods go, where you'll find pasta, beans, flours, condiments, spices, sauces, dried chillies, tinned foods and all sorts of baking ingredients that is always jam packed with stuff. Most of these things have a shelf life and experience has thought me that if you don't use them within the year or so, they're most likely to go to waste.
So every January, almost religiously, I buy no groceries, other than fresh dairy and eggs, and I challenge myself to use whatever I have. It's a fun challenge that keeps things delicious and makes the dreaded January wait for payday a lot easier. This year I found all sorts of wonders in my cover, but towards the end of the month, a couple of tins of black beans appeared to the very back. This coincided with one of my cooking segments with Ireland AM on Virgine Media One, so I decided to share this bean recipe with them. You can catch the segment on the player and through this link if you want to watch it.
This is one of my favourite ways to eat beans and a perfect party pleaser. This dip is easy to make and very flavoursome, it keeps well in the fridge for up to a week and it freezes well. You can make in advance and re-heat in the microwave.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan to high heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and Ancho chilli and stir to combine well. Cook until the onion has softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Add the beans to the blender and transfer the ingredients from the pan there too. Add the water. Keep the pan as you will be using it again. and blitz everything until you have a smooth sauce.
Pour the bean sauce back into the oily pan and cook the beans in medium heat for 8 minutes stirring frequently to avoid them sticking. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Once the beans have acquired a thickish consistency, remove them from the heat.
Serve this bean dip warm with tortilla chips, but you can also use it as a base for a good mollete or a tostada. It's all in the consistency of the beans. The ancho chillies give this dish a lovely depth of flavour and a tiny hint of heat. You can substitute them with Pasilla chillies, which will be make them a little hotter. Whatever you use, they'll be delicious!