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1 lb dry black turtle beans
1 large sweet onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 8 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 slices bacon, diced (Optional! Veggies can omit this ingredient, you may just want to add a bit more salt to your recipe.)
1 large bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Rinse beans and soak overnight. Even though the slow cooker will cook them completely without this step, if you soak, drain and rinse your beans before cooking them, some of their gaseous properties leach out and are removed, and you'll experience less stomach upset from having a big bowl o' beanies for dinner. Highly advised.
2) Drain and rinse your beans. Place in slow cooker and cover with water.
3) Add all other ingredients except the cilantro. Start with about a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
4) Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
5) With an hour left to go in the cooking time, add the cilantro, and taste to adjust for salt and pepper.
I served these beans as our Sunday dinner with basmati rice, sour cream, chopped avocado and hot sauce for garnish (Warning: taste first before adding hot sauce! These beans have quite a kick without it, the hubs and I just love our food practically on fire). They would also make a phenomenal side for any Caribbean or Latin-inspired dish (I'm thinking jerk chicken, fish or tofu, a citrus-y slow cooker Cuban chicken I like to make, spicy shrimp, or shredded beef tacos), and the beans would also be very tasty inside a quesadilla or burrito. This is one of those Sunday suppers that can truly live on through the week in many different meals without anyone tiring of it.
Finally, one more shout out for my slow cooker. I'm a little obsessed with it, as you can tell. Here's why: I chopped things for about 10 minutes on Sunday morning, opened a couple of cans, pushed a button and walked away. As the day went on, the house filled with the most incredible aroma of spicy goodness. Then, all I had to do to make dinner was put on a pot of rice, and we enjoyed a delicious and healthy meal with almost no effort and very little clean-up. I cannot think of a better piece of kitchen equipment for families and all busy, working people!