The finished black bean stew. Photo: CC-FotoosVanRobin
A good stew will come together slowly—the savory aromatics building patiently, one upon another. This recipe falls in the 'rainy day' category, as the prep will likely keep you in the kitchen for a while. But of course, where else would you rather be when it rains? This dish combines a lot of powerful flavors that hold well against the beans. The citrus and cider vinegar offer fresh counterbalance to the various levels of spice. For a thicker consistency, cook for a few minutes longer before adding the orange juice.

Ingredients:
2 cups black beans, soaked overnight
½ pound fresh spicy sausage, casing removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 shallots, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ cup apple cider vinegar plus ¼ cup water
1 teaspoon orange zest
Juice from ½ an orange
4 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Drain beans and transfer to a large soup pot with the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Keep pot partially covered.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up into chunks with a spoon. Remove after sausage is firm, 5-7 minutes and set aside.

Keep the juices from the sausage and to the same skillet, add olive oil, shallots, peppers and garlic. Cook for about 7 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add red pepper flakes, cumin and cardamom and cook for another minute longer then remove from heat.

Add vegetables to the pot of cooked beans and let simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes. Add the combination of vinegar and water, orange juice, zest and sausage. Allow flavors to mingle together for a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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