Many years ago on my way out of the library I stopped to browse the "books for sale" table and bought for the princely sum of 50 cents The Book of Latin American Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz. The fact that this cookbook was first published in 1969 and is still in print and for sale today should give you some idea of how wonderful it is.
Its only flaw is that it has no tamale recipes, but then, as my mother-in-law was fond of saying, there's no perfection in this world. What it does have is 338 pages of recipes drawn from countries all over Latin America. For dinner last night I made one of my favorites, the Brazilian dish, Black Beans Minas Gerais style or Tutu a Mineira. Over the years I've adapted this recipe a bit. It's a simpler version of Feijoada Completa, Black Beans with Mixed Meats, which has oranges as a garnish or side dish. I added the oranges and limes from that recipe to the Tutu recipe.
Now I'm hungry. I'm sitting here wishing we hadn't been such pigs and eaten every last scrap of it last night, because I'd sure like some more right now. (Note to self: Do not invite a guest next time you make Tutu - you fool!)
The traditional way to serve Tutu is in a large flat casserole, but as I seem to be missing my large flat casserole I used a round pie dish instead. I piled the egg/bacon mixture in the middle and placed the orange slices around the edges, with the lime slices in the middle for colour. The kale had to go in a bowl on the side. It didn't look quite as spectacular, but it didn't deter any appetites. Everyone dove in for thirds and then Tony made some lame excuse about it being a shame to put such a small amount in a container in the fridge and finished what I might have had for lunch today!
Anyway, here's the recipe, should you be inclined to try this Tutu for yourself:
Black Beans Minas Gerais style, Tutu a Mineira
6 cups cooked black beans
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs dried red/green pepper flakes
1 tsp tabasco sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
6 slices bacon
2 naval oranges
1/2 of a lime
1 bunch kale
1 tsp tabasco
1 tbs oil (divided)
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Mash cooked beans, adding water if needed to make consistency of mashed potatoes. Saute onions and garlic in oil until transparent, add to beans, along with other seasonings. Place seasoned beans in flat casserole, put in 300 degree oven until hot through.
While beans are heating fry bacon, drain and crumble. Fry the eggs and cut into strips. Cut kale into strips and cook until just wilted. Slice oranges into thin slices, slice limes into half slices. Mix 1 tsp of oil, tsp of vinegar and tsp of hot sauce together.
Mix egg strips and bacon together and lay a strip down center of casserole on top of beans, lay kale down one side, dress with oil/vinegar/hot sauce, put orange and lime slices down the other side.