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Spicy Black Beans and Spinach With Masa Dumplings

February 26, 2010

You know, there are just some foods that I have no desire to eat.

Chicken and Dumplings is one of those meals.  I’m not sure why I don’t feel compelled to eat one of the most classic, Southern, comfort foods around.  Especially given my Southern heritage.  (You know how when people say, “I’m 1/4 French, 1/8 Italian, and the rest Scottish”  or  “I’m 1/2 Navajo and 1/2 English,” in that proud I-know-my-heritage-way? Well, I was always taught just to say, “I’m Southern!”)

The idea of biscuits cooked atop a cauldron of meat falling off bones in an ambiguous tan broth just kind of skeeves me.  And it shouldn’t.  It really shouldn’t.  Especially given the fact that the thought of cornmeal dumplings immersed in a deep-red broth of beans and spinach really makes my mouth water.

So, based on that analogy, I’m almost convinced to make Southern Chicken and Dumplings.  But actually, not really.  When I’m craving dumpling-esque comfort, I think I’ll stick to this meal.  It warms you from the bones.  It has very few ingredients and is just down right good.  Leftovers are even better.

I adapted a recipe from Rick Bayless that I found in Cate’s World Kitchen to make three servings.  Feel free to double my recipe for more food or check out Cate’s variation!

One Year Ago: Mediterranean Pasta with Limas and Olives

Smoky Black Beans with Spinach and Masa Dumplings
0.25 lbs black beans (equivalent 1 can of black beans) + 2.5 cups water for cooking
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 canned chili pepper in adobo
2 cups roughly chopped, destemmed spinach

for the masa dumplings
1/3 cup masa
2 T hot water
pinch baking powder

Place the beans, water, onion, and garlic in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the beans are tender.  If you are using canned beans, obviously, just skip this step.  Sautee the onion in a nonstick pan until soft, then add minced garlic and cook 3-4 minutes.  Puree 1 can of the diced tomatoes with the chipolte pepper in a blender.  Add to the black beans and onions.  Add the additional can of tomatoes and cook over low heat 10-15 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in spinach to wilt.

While beans simmer, combine masa with hot water and baking powder.  The dough should be only slightly crumbly and come together easily.  Adjust masa or water as needed to reach that consistency.  Roll masa into ping-pong sized dumplings and place a dimple in one side with your thumb.  Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook masa dumplings in water – placing them in a few at a time and removing them once they float.  Keep warm in a bowl covered with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Just before serving, add dumplings to beans and stir carefully to avoid breaking the dumplings.

3 servings

Calories 245.3
Total Carbohydrate 50.0 g
Dietary Fiber 15.6 g
Sugars 10.8 g
Protein 13.1 g

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2010 3:26 pm

    This looks goooood. It’s cold and snowy outside and I think that this would be perfect over the weekend.
    I love the idea of masa dumplings! I’m always looking for something “carby” to serve w/chili, so that would work nicely. And chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a staple in the Bones house 🙂

  2. February 26, 2010 4:16 pm

    This looks awesome. I don’t know why it never occurred to me before to make gluten free dumplings, but these are perfect. One question – is masa closer to cornmeal or corn flour? I don’t know where I could get masa here but I can def. get cornmeal and plain old stone ground corn flour…

    • brannyboilsover permalink*
      February 26, 2010 4:21 pm

      I think cornmeal is too rough to be a decent sub. I’d go with corn flour. Good luck!

      • February 27, 2010 5:11 am

        awesome! I am so making this next week!

  3. February 26, 2010 4:46 pm

    FWIW, the easiest way to get more comments is to leave comments on others’ blogs. 😉

  4. February 26, 2010 5:33 pm

    I love that you scaled it down…the original recipe makes SO MUCH! (And it’s funny you mention chicken and dumplings, I made that (for my husband) and this on back-to-back nights – dumpling heaven!

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