My beautiful wife and I had planned a side trip to Santa Fe, when we were visiting family in West Texas a couple years ago. Two things that are always constants for me are: I’m the first one who’s in if there is a trip being planned to anywhere, and as soon as I know where I’m going, I start thinking about what’s good to eat there. So, Santa Fe immediately begins conjuring up visions of red chile this and green chile that… fresh hot corn tortillas served with everything. Dreams of carne adovado, piping hot posole, made to order chips still sizzling in the basket, with home made guacomole and pico de gallo had me chomping at the bit to hurry up and get to New Mexico!
Being a somewhat anal trip planner at heart, (my family calls me Mr. Clipboard!) I had done my homework. I had a list of possible eateries and bars neatly printed up, with pros and cons for each, for when we would inevitably have trouble deciding, “which one next”. Said list was kept in a secure place and was third only behind Wallet and Car Keys on the pre-flight checklist as we left West Texas for The Land of Enchantment. Mouth watering, I pointed the car west and set the cruise control for 5mph over the speed limit….. and we’re off!
We arrived in Santa Fe, checked into our beautiful little Casita (with a fireplace!), and went exploring…. a fantastic afternoon in a beautiful city, completed by a wonderful meal from one of the restaurants on the list. Margaritas, tamales, enchiladas, carne adovado, red chile, green chile…… it was Southwest Heaven! Travel days are the hardest, so it was back to the Casita, a little fire in the hearth, and soon I was dreaming about tomorrow’s dinner.
I blame it on the mountain elevation and the fact that we did go to bed on the early side the night before. Whatever the reason, I woke up hungry the next morning. No problem, let’s go eat, right? Right, but my restaurant list only contemplated lunches, happy hours and dinners. Do they even eat breakfast here? Fortunately the desk clerk confirms that, yes, they do eat breakfast in Santa Fe and yes, there is a really good “locals” place in walking distance, which she highly recommends! We can be there in 10 minutes if we hurry.
So, about 5 minutes later, we walk into this cool little place. It’s all done in shabby southwest with heavy tile floors and it smells amazing. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, and it’s busy. As we are being taken to our table I do a quick but thorough recon of what everybody has on their plates as we walk by. I see people dipping fresh hot corn tortillas into egg yolks and red and green chile. Oh yeah, I’m going to like breakfast in Santa Fe! Whoa, is that lady eating eggs over a plate of black beans? No potatoes? Nobody has potatoes? Wow, I might actually be able to talk about this meal with my Internist when I get home!
What a great breakfast it was. Eggs over easy, spicy black beans, sliced avocado and tomato, and fresh hot corn tortillas that somebody’s mother made by hand in the kitchen that morning. OK, I had a big side of guacamole too, but I am on vacation! The point is, no meat, no potatoes, and no toast slathered with butter on this plate. The other cool thing is, this breakfast really satisfies that morning hunger and stays with you. Little did I know that this was to become a staple in our house, as my bride and I struggle to eat well but eat more healthy. We’ve actually served it to quite a few family members and friends, always for breakfast, and most have loved it.
I’ve played around with the black bean recipe alot over the course of the last couple years. I’m not claiming that it is “authentic” Santa Fe! It’s what it has evolved into in my kitchen. I’ll share the basic recipe with you here and give you some ideas about how to jazz it up if you wish to. It’s very simple with a not too daunting list of ingredients, and can be whipped up in 20-25 minutes.
1-TBSP Olive Oil or your choice of oil
3- Garlic Cloves, crushed and rough chopped
1- Chipotle Pepper in Adobo (1/2 if you don’t want so much heat) chopped fine OR 1/2 to 1tsp Red Pepper Flakes depending on your tolerance
1- tsp Cider Vinegar (use what you have if no cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
1- 15.5 oz can of black beans, drained of most liquid
2 TBSP Water or Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 TBSP Chopped Cilantro
Add Olive Oil to a medium sauce pan over medium low heat
Add garlic and stir often for 1-2 minutes. Sweat it, don’t brown it
When garlic has softened add Chipotle Pepper or Red Pepper Flakes
Continue stirring for another minute then add Vinegar, Cumin and Oregano
Stir for a minute and add Black Beans and Water or Chicken Stock
Increase heat to Medium-high until it starts to bubble and return to Medium-Low for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. If it gets too dry add a little more water or stock.
Salt & Pepper to taste at the end. Careful with salt as some Chipotles are salty!
Serve with eggs, sprinkle fresh cilantro, garnish with avocado slices or guacamole, sliced tomato, pico or salsa. And of course, tortillas if you have them.
Makes 2 breakfast size portions
There are a lot of tweaks you can do to this recipe. Sometimes I’ll start with a couple TBSP of diced onion before adding the garlic. Fresh Jalapeno is an obvious substitute for the Chipotle. Some fresh diced tomato is a good replacement for the added liquid and gives it a nice zing too. I also recommend a dash of Worcestershire if you’re feeling adventurous. On a morning after a night out I’ll sometimes use some good beer and cook it a little longer til the beer reduces. By the way, a cold beer with a squeeze of lime goes great with this for Sunday Brunch!
Have fun with this. Hope you love it!
“There is no love sincerer than the love for food.” George Bernard Shaw