Risotto with Sausage and Parsley

1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 to 6 cups chicken stock, ideally homemade
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup packed and roughly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 of 1 lemon
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

With the tip of a small, sharp knife, slit open the sausage casings. Crumble the meat into a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, and set over medium heat. If the meat is not rendering enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan as it begins to cook, add olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the meat is frying gently, not steaming. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the sausage, and cook, breaking up any large chunks of sausage and stirring occasionally, until the meat is opaque and crisp at the edges, approximately 10 minutes. Remove sausage from pan, and reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.

Pour the stock into a medium saucepan or pot, and bring to a low simmer.

While the stock heats, return the heavy skillet or Dutch oven to medium-low heat, and add to it the 1 tablespoon reserved sausage fat and 1 tablespoon butter, or 2 tablespoons butter if you don’t want to cook with the sausage fat.

When the butter foams, add the diced onion, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it is soft and translucent, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the rice, and stir until well coated, adding another tablespoon of fat if necessary. Stir until translucent, an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Raise the heat under the rice to medium, and add the wine to the skillet. Stir until wine is absorbed, then reduce the heat slightly.

Begin adding ladlefuls of hot broth to the rice, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Cook rice until it is tender but slightly chewy, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. You may not need all the broth. You may need more than you have; if additional liquid is needed, you can use boiling water.

Remove the skillet from heat, and add the cheese, stirring to mix it into the rice. Add the sausage to the rice, and stir again. Taste, and adjust seasonings with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Squeeze the lemon over the rice, and then mound the risotto on a large, warmed bowl. Scatter the parsley over the top, and serve immediately, with more grated Parmesan on the side

Cheddar Beer Bread Rolls

6 cups/815 grams bread flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
4 tablespoons/55 grams unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted), plus more for the bowl and pan
1/4 cup/60 milliliters honey
2 cups/480 milliliters beer, such as pale ale
1 3/4 cup/200 grams shredded sharp cheddar, preferably white

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, 2 tablespoons softened butter, honey and beer. Mix on low speed for 4 minutes. The dough should come together around the dough hook.

Increase speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes more, occasionally stopping to scrape the dough from the hook. Add 1 cup/115 grams of the Cheddar cheese and mix until incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until nearly double in size, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 even pieces. Gently round each piece of dough into a ball, and place into the prepared pan. (The rolls may not touch now, but they will fill in the gaps when they rise and bake.)

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until they look visibly puffy. Toward the end of rise time, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the rolls with 2 tablespoons melted butter, and top each roll with 1 tablespoon of the remaining white Cheddar, being careful to keep the cheese away from the edges of the pan.

Bake the rolls until golden brown, and the cheese on top is melted and browned (the rolls should have an internal temperature of 190 degrees), 17 to 22 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

FOR THE MACARONI AND CHEESE:
1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar cheese, grated
12 ounces fontina or Gruyère, grated

FOR THE TOPPING (OPTIONAL):
1 cup coarse bread crumbs or panko
4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until it’s barely al dente. (It should be more al dente than your average pasta: It’s going to continue to cook in the oven.) Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium pot over medium heat. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour is foamy and just starting to turn a light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk to avoid clumping. Add garlic, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly and paying special attention to the edges of the pot to make sure the flour mixture is totally incorporated.

Add grated cheese and whisk to blend until the cheese is completely melted. (The sauce will seem thick at first and thin out as the cheese melts; it will thicken while it bakes.) Season with salt and pepper and add cooked pasta, stirring to coat well.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (to catch any cheesy drips).

Make the optional topping: Combine bread crumbs, melted butter and Parmesan, if using, in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using your hands, mix well to ensure the bread crumbs are evenly coated.

Transfer the macaroni and cheese mixture to a 3-quart or 9 x 13 baking dish and scatter bread crumbs, if using, evenly over the top. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until macaroni and cheese is bubbling, thickened and creamy, and bread crumbs are evenly golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound elbows, shells, cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli or other short, tube-shaped pasta
Kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces sharp or white Cheddar, grated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until just barely al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, bring milk up to a simmer in a large pot. (The pot should be large enough to hold all the pasta when cooked.) Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese, and whisk until it’s completely blended and no lumps remain. Add Cheddar cheese and butter, whisking until everything is completely melted. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the sauce has thickened and is coating each piece of pasta nicely, 2 to 3 minutes; sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Season again with more salt and pepper before serving.

Ham and Cheese Scones

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup diced ham, bacob, or pancetta
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Add cold butter, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in buttermilk, cheese, ham and chives until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pill, roll the dough into an 8? circle, about 1-inch thick, and cut into 8 wedges.

Place scones onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned.

Serve immediately.

Hush Puppies

2 cups cornmeal
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup grated onion
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 large egg yolk
1 cup buttermilk
6 large egg whites
Canola oil, for frying

In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Stir in onions.

Combine egg yolk and buttermilk; stir into cornmeal mixture until combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff.

Gently fold into cornmeal mixture.

Fill a large deep skillet with 2 to 3 inches oil. Heat oil until it reaches 375* on a deep-fry thermometer.

Working in batches, drop batter 1 t at a time into the oil and cook, turning once until the hush puppies rise to the surface and are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Serve immediately.

Basic Southern Greens

4 pounds fresh turnip greens
4 ounces smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cups of water (more as needed)
Salt as needed

Remove and discard stems and discolored spots from greens. Chop greens, and wash thoroughly two to three time to insure no grit; set aside in a large bowl.

Roughly chop raw bacon and render in a large stockpot over low heat for 5 minutes before adding chopped onion.

Increase to medium high heat and cook until onions are translucent.

Add diced ham, crushed red pepper, brown sugar, vinegar and water and bring to a boil.

Add cleaned,chopped greens and simmer for approximately four hours, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed.

Once greens are fully cooked and tender, taste for seasoning and add salt if desired.

Note: The juice from cooking the turnip greens is called “Pot Liquor” and can be used as a dip for your biscuits or cornbread.

Basic Cornbread

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk

Mix it all together until smooth. Pour into a black iron skillet that has been greased with butter or bacon fat. Bake in a 425-degree oven until top is brown and firm.

A little more elaborate (from Simply Recipes):

1 tablespoon bacon drippings
2 cups cornmeal OR 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 large egg (optional)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat pan with bacon drippings: Put the bacon drippings in a 9 or 10-inch well-seasoned cast iron skillet and put the skillet into the oven. Then preheat the oven to 400°F with the skillet inside. (If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can use an uncovered Dutch oven or a metal cake pan.)

Make the batter: Whisk together all the dry ingredients (cornmeal, baking soda, salt, sugar if using) in a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg (if using) and buttermilk until combined, then mix that into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter.

Pour batter into hot skillet and bake: When the oven is hot, take out the skillet (carefully, as the handle will be hot!). Add the cornbread batter and make sure it is evenly distributed in the skillet.

Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.

4 Rest bread in skillet, then serve: Let the bread rest for 10 to 30 minutes in the skillet before cutting it into wedges and serving.

To store, let the cornbread cool, then remove from pan and wrap in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temp for 2 to 3 days

Borlotti Beans over Polenta

TOMATO SAUCE:
3 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION, chopped
1 MEDIUM FENNEL BULB, trimmed and chopped
3 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
4 TEASPOONS CHOPPED FRESH OREGANO
1/4 TEASPOON RED PEPPER FLAKES
SALT
1 SMALL CARROT, peeled and shredded
ONE 28-OUNCE CAN WHOLE SAN MARZANO TOMATOES or plum tomatoes
FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
2 CUPS DRAINED, COOKED BORLOTTI BEANS
1/3 CUP CHOPPED FRESH FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY

POLENTA:
4 CUPS WATER
1 TEASPOON SALT
1 CUP POLENTA
2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE, plus more for garnishing
FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Optional: cooked Italian sausage, to serve on top of the finished dish.

For a streamlined process,make the tomato sauce and the beans ahead and heat them together while you cook the polenta.

Make the sauce: In a small Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the onion, the fennel, the garlic, 2 teaspoons of the oregano, the red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add the carrot and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, stirring to break them up with a wooden spoon. Add another pinch of salt.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, at the barest simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced and beginning to separate from the oil, at least 2 hours or up to 3 hours.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oregano and salt and pepper to taste. The sauce can be made up to this point 1 or 2 days ahead; let cool and refrigerate.

Make the polenta:
About 45 minutes before serving, bring the water to a boil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the salt and, whisking continuously, slowly pour the polenta into the water in a thin stream. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring nearly constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, the grains soften, and the polenta begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes.

Stir in the butter and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and season with pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Add the beans to the tomato sauce and warm them together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley about 5 minutes before serving.

Spoon the polenta into warmed shallow bowls and make a well in the center of each serving. Spoon the tomato sauce into the well. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Substitution Note: This dish is best made with a rich, creamy bean. If borlotti are unavailable, try French horticulture, or wren’s egg.

Carne en su Jugo

6 SLICES HIGH-QUALITY BACON, diced
1 POUND LEAN BEEF such as sirloin tip or top round, cut against the grain into ¼-inch-thick slices and chopped (see note)
4 CUPS BEEF BROTH
2 CHIPOTLE CHILES IN ADOBO
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
2 CUPS DRAINED, COOKED FLOR DE MAYO BEANS
CILANTRO LEAVES for serving
LIME WEDGES for serving
FINELY CHOPPED GREEN ONIONS, white and pale green parts, for serving

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until all the fat is rendered and the bacon is brown but not crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel–lined plate.

Add the beef to the skillet and sauté until brown, turning often with tongs, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot.

In a blender, combine 1 cup of the beef broth and the chiles in adobo and blend until smooth. Add to the beef and pour in the remaining beef broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender and the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the beans. Ladle them into warmed bowls. Ladle the meat with its broth over the beans.

Top with the bacon and cilantro leaves.

Pass the lime wedges and green onions at the table.

Note: It is easier to slice the meat thinly if you freeze it for about 20 minutes. Substitution Note: Any creamy pintolike bean is great here. Try Anasazi, flor de junio, or Rio Zape.

Succotash with Mint and Goat Cheese

2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
3 GREEN ONIONS, white and pale green parts and some of the dark green tops, thinly sliced
1 1/2 CUPS FRESH CORN KERNELS (2 medium ears)
1/2 POUND FLORIDA BUTTER BEANS, cooked and drained
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
1/2 CUP HALVED CHERRY TOMATOES
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH MINT
1/4 POUND FRESH GOAT CHEESE

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the green onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the corn and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat, and toss in the tomatoes and mint.

Serve immediately, crumbling a little goat cheese over each portion.

Substitution Note: Try this recipe with Christmas lima beans or with fresh lima beans if you have them.

Lima Beans (Baby or Christmas) with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

1/2 POUND FLORIDA BUTTER BEANS or CHRISTMAS LIMAS, soaked
4 SLICES HIGH-QUALITY BACON, diced
2 1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONIONS
2 CELERY STALKS, diced
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
SALT
3/4 TEASPOON CHOPPED FRESH THYME LEAVES FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are beginning to soften, about 1 hour.

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan and reserve.

Chop half of an onion and add to the pan over medium heat. Add the celery and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add to the beans, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When the beans are nearly soft, season them with salt.

Meanwhile, cut the remaining 2 whole onions in half, then cut into thin slices. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, pour in 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, and set over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onions and a few pinches of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions wilt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are medium brown, soft, and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add 2 tablespoons water and stir to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the bacon to the caramelized onions and heat gently.

Top each serving of beans with some of the caramelized onion–bacon mixture.

Cannellini with Tomatoes and Sage

FOR OVEN-CURED TOMATOES:
6 PLUM TOMATOES
1 TABLESPOON CHOPPED FRESH FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY
3 TO 4 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
SALT

BEANS:

1 POUND RUNNER CANNELLINI or CELLINI BEANS, soaked
1 MEDIUM CARROT, peeled and quartered
1 CELERY STALK, cut into thirds
1 GARLIC HEAD, halved
3 FRESH SAGE SPRIGS 3
FRESH ROSEMARY SPRIGS
SALT
1/4 CUP SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL for frying
20 FRESH SAGE LEAVES
1/2 CUP EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, plus oil for drizzling
2 GARLIC CLOVES, thinly sliced
3 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH SAGE
FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Make the tomatoes:
Preheat the oven to 200 ° F. Core the tomatoes. Slice each tomato nearly in half lengthwise, taking care not to cut all the way through so the halves remain attached.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to taste. Toss to coat. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side down, in a single layer on a rack setover a baking sheet.

Bake until the liquid is evaporated and the tomatoes are shriveled and reduced in size, but not completely dry, about 10 hours. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Beans:
In a stockpot, combine the beans and their soaking water, carrot, celery, and garlic head.

Put the sage sprigs and rosemary sprigs on a piece of cheesecloth, gather the corners, and tie the bundle securely. Add to the pot.

Add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook,partially covered, until the beans are nearly soft, about 1 hour. Season with salt and continue cooking the beans until tender, about 30 minutes.

Allow the beans to cool in their broth. Remove and discard the vegetables, garlic head, and cheesecloth bundle. Drain the beans, reserving the broth.

In a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm the safflower oil until it is shimmering. Add the sage leaves, 4 at a time, and fry until they are crisp but remain bright green, 10 to 15 seconds. Remove with tongs to a paper towel to drain.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and chopped sage, and sauté until aromatic.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook just until they begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cooked beans to the skillet along with 1 cup of the reserved broth. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced and leaves a glossy shine on the beans.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish and top with the fried sage leaves.

Jacob’s Cattle Beans with Pancetta and Sage

1/2 POUND JACOB’S CATTLE BEANS, soaked (page 21)
3 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, plus more for drizzling
1/2 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION, chopped
1 MEDIUM CARROT, peeled and chopped
2 CELERY STALKS, chopped
3 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
1/4 POUND PANCETTA, diced
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH SAGE
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE for garnishing

Put the beans and their soaking water in a soup pot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, until beans just begin to soften, about 30 minutes.

In a medium, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, warm the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pancetta, 1 tablespoon of the sage, and a little salt and pepper, and sauté very slowly to draw out the flavor of the aromatics and pancetta, about 20 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables and pancetta to brown.

Add the vegetables and pancetta to the beans, season with salt, and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Check the water level often and add more water if needed. This dish is best when the beans are a little soupy.

During the final 5 minutes of cooking, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sage and adjust the seasonings.

Serve the beans in warmed shallow bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Substitution Note: Cranberry beans will also work nicely in this simple recipe, or try Good Mother Stallard beans.

Boston Baked Beans

1 POUND EUROPEAN SOLDIER, WHITE NAVY, or YELLOW EYE BEANS, soaked (page 21)
2 TEASPOONS DRY MUSTARD
1 TABLESPOON TOMATO PASTE
1 TEASPOON SALT
1/3CUP DARK MOLASSES
1/4 CUP LIGHTLY PACKED BROWN SUGAR
2 TABLESPOONS MAPLE SYRUP
1/2 POUND SALT PORK, rinsed, dried, and scored in several places with a sharp knife (optional)
1/2 LARGE YELLOW ONION, thinly sliced
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are beginning to soften, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

Drain the beans, reserving the broth. If necessary add enough water to the broth to measure 2 cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the broth, mustard, tomato paste, salt, molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup.

Put half of the beans in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid. Top with the salt pork (if using) and half of the sliced onion. Add the remaining beans and top with the remaining onion.

Pour the broth mixture over the beans, cover, and bake until the beans are soft, the pork is meltingly tender, and the sauce is thick and clings to the beans, 5 to 7 hours. Stop and check occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid in the beans, and add water if necessary, but not too much. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chilies in Escabeche (for beans and tacos)

10 JALAPEÑO CHILES
1/4 CUP SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL
2 MEDIUM CARROTS, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1/4 CUP THINLY SLICED WHITE ONION
2 GARLIC CLOVES, smashed with the side of a knife
3/4 CUP WHITE VINEGAR
1 BAY LEAF
1 TEASPOON DRIED MEXICAN OREGANO
5 PEPPERCORNS
1 TEASPOON COARSE SALT
2 TEASPOONS SUGAR

Cut a slit down the length of each chile, leaving the stem intact.

In a medium, heavy skillet over high heat, warm the safflower oil. Add the chiles and stir-fry until the skins are evenly blistered all over and they turn from bright green to dull green, about 8 minutes.

Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, bay leaf, oregano, peppercorns, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the chiles and other vegetables from the skillet and pack into a sterilized 1-pint mason jar. They should be packed tightly all the way to the top. Pour in the vinegar to cover all the vegetables. Let cool and then refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Moros y Cristos

2 TABLESPOONS EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
½ MEDIUM YELLOW or WHITE ONION, chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
½ MEDIUM GREEN BELL PEPPER, seeded and chopped
1 JALAPEÑO CHILE, finely chopped
1 CUP LONG-GRAIN WHITE RICE
1 BAY LEAF 2 CUPS WATER
1 TEASPOON SALT
2 CUPS COOKED BLACK BEANS (see previous recipe), drained
FRESH CILANTRO LEAVES for garnishing

In a small Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and chile. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, fragrant, and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly with the oil. Add the bay leaf, water, salt, and beans.

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook at a very slow simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. You may check the beans and rice toward the end of the cooking time to make sure the water level is not too low and add a bit more water if needed, but you should leave the beans and rice as undisturbed as possible.

Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish each serving with cilantro.

Basic Black Beans

1 POUND BLACK VALENTINE BEANS, soaked
2 TABLESPOONS SAFFLOWER or GRAPESEED OIL
1 SMALL WHITE ONION, chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
1/2 MEDIUM GREEN BELL PEPPER, seeded and chopped
1 JALAPEÑO CHILE, CHOPPED
2 TABLESPOONS CIDER VINEGAR
1/4 CUP FRESH CILANTRO LEAVES
1/4 TEASPOON SPANISH SMOKED PAPRIKA
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER

Put the beans and their soaking water in a stockpot and add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by at least 1 inch. Bring to a rapid boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat so that the beans are barely simmering and cook until the beans are nearly soft, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a medium, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm the safflower oil. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and chile and sauté until the vegetables are very aromatic and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the vinegar, cilantro, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.

(Skip this step if making Moros y Cristos.) Scoop 1 cup of the beans from the pot and add to the skillet. Using a potato masher, mash the beans with the sofrito.

Add sofrito to the pot of simmering beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until the beans are tender and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes.

Basic Borracho Beans

Ingredients

4 cups cooked pinto, Rio Sape, red Appaloosa, or Anasazi beans, in their broth
1 bottle lager beer
2 slices high-quality bacon, diced
1/2 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 to 4 Serrano chiles, seeded if desired and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
Lime wedges for serving

In a stockpot over medium heat, warm the beans and their broth. Add the beer and simmer to cook off some of the beer, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until the fat is nearly rendered and the bacon is brown, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, and chiles, and sauté over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked bacon.

Add the mixture to the beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.

Serve the beans with warm tortillas and lime wedges.

Adapted from Rancho Gordo (omits mushrooms)

Basic Pot Beans

1 TABLESPOON LARD or EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1/2 MEDIUM WHITE or RED ONION, chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES, smashed
1 POUND BEANS OF YOUR CHOICE, soaked (page 21)
SALT
4 KEY LIMES, cut in half, for serving
FINELY CHOPPED WHITE or RED ONION, for serving
1/4 CUP CHOPPED FRESH CILANTRO for serving

In a stock pot, over medium heat, warm the lard.

Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Add the beans and their soaking water. Add more cold water if needed to cover the beans by at least 1 inch.

Raise the heat to high, bring to a rapid boil, and cook for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat so that the beans are barely simmering and cook, partially covered, until the beans are soft, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Season the beans judiciously with salt, keeping in mind that it takes time for the beans to absorb the salt.

Ladle the beans into warmed bowls.

Diners top their servings with a squeeze of key lime, a spoonful of chopped onions, and a sprinkling of cilantro.