Forget bland and boring. These socko beans combine the method and a few of the seasonings of Boston-style slow-baked beans with Southwestern flavors reminiscent of chili.
1 pound pinto, anasazi, or appaloosa beans, soaked
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, seeds and membrane removed, chopped
1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers, diced with 1-2 tsp of their sauce
1 ounce unsweetend chocolate, chopped
1 cup canned crushed tomates in purée
1 cup very strong coffee
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 to 3 tablespoons additional boiling water, coffee, or vegetable stock
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetarian bacon bits
cornbread or tortillas
sour cream or yogurt sour cream
diced raw onions
grated Cheddar or Jack cheese
Drain the beans well, rinse, and place in a large pot with fresh water to cover. Add the bay leaves and place over high heat. Bring to boil; lower heat and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes for anasazi, 1 1/2 hours for pintos. Remove from heat. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Spray a bean pot or other deep, nonreactive casserole with cooking spray. Scatter the onion and green pepper over the bottom, then add the drained beans.
Whisk the chipotles and adobe sauce, unsweetened chocolate, crushed tomatoes, coffee, brown sugar, chili powder, oregano (crush the leaves between your fingers as you add it, to release the essential oils), salt, ground cumin, and dry mustard into the reserved bean cooking liquid. When well combined, pour over the beans. The liquid should just cover the beans; if it doesn't, add just enough boiling water, coffee, or vegetable stock to achieve this. Cover and bake for 6 hours, checking every once in a while to make sure the liquid level is maintained.
After the beans have baked for 6 hours, uncover. Stir to distribute the onion and green pepper throughout the beans. Return to oven and bake for 50 minutes more. If using, stir in bacon bits and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot, with cornbread or tortillas, and pass any desired accompaniments at the table.
The 6-hour cooking time may be done in a crockpot set on low.