Did you know that the United Nations declared 2016 the "year of the pulses"?
Pulses are beans, in case you were wondering.
Beans are sustainable, inexpensive, and healthy, so it's no wonder that the United Nations is trying to encourage us to eat more of them.
Here is one recipe that I've been using as a summer freezer meal for two years. It is a family favorite and it uses TWO types of beans: black beans and pinto beans.
This recipe is from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe by America's Test Kitchen. Although I love the recipe, they're directions for cooking the frozen casserole haven't been successful. I've found that I have to let it thaw longer than 30 minutes and I have to cook it longer than the 1 1/2 hours. I prefer to take the casserole out in the morning and let it thaw on a dish towel on the counter, and then cook it for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in the oven. Just be aware of that when you cook it for the first time :)
Vegetable and Bean Tamale Pie
serves 6-83 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, well drained, with 2 cups juice reserved
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 - 4 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (you need this for depth of flavor!)
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15.5 ounce can kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn (do not thaw)
1 medium zucchini (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
4 teaspoons lime juice from two limes
One recipe of homemade cornbread stuffing (see below)
1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes are very dry and browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. stir in the chili powder, garlic, chipotles, oregano, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the reserved tomato juice, scraping up any browned bits. Off the heat, stir and black beans, kidney beans, corn, zucchini, cheese, cilantro, and lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Transfer the bean mixture to a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Spread the cornmeal topping evenly over the feeling, pushing it to the edges of the baking dish.
4. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
To Store: Wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with vegetable oil spray and then for oil and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to one month.
To Serve: adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap the dish. If refrigerated, bake, uncovered, until the feeling is bubbly and the crust is baked through and golden, 50 to 60 minutes. If frozen, unwrap the dish and let the casserole sit at room temperature for a few hours, I usually take mine out at lunchtime and let thaw until dinner. When you're ready to bake, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the feeling is bubbly and the crust is baked through and golden, 50 to 60 minutes.
*I've tripled this recipe and it actually makes enough for 4 dishes instead of 3. I'm not sure how I defeated the law of conservation, but I did.
Cornbread Topping1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1. Whisk the flour, milk, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the butter milk, butter, and eggs together. Stir in the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until uniform. Use as directed in beef tamale pie and vegetable and being tamale pie.