Phase one of quarantine beans was all about taking as much time as possible: soaking your dried beans, then cooking them gently for hours and hours, watching them become tender before, finally, eat half and stowing the rest in your freezer for “an emergency” which may or may not have occurred.
I recently passed into phase two of quarantine beans, an era that began moment a box of A Dozen Cousins bean packets arrived on my front doorstep. The packets, which hold a couple of servings of delicious, well-seasoned beans, go from packet to table with just one minute in the microwave. They’re the answer to my inability and disinterest in continuing to cook three meals a day: very delicious, high in protein, low-maintenance, and able to become a HOT meal, because a cold meal will never satisfy me, I’m sorry to say.
Easy never tasted so awesome.
They’ve also got plenty of variety – the packets range in flavors from Mexico Cowboy beans (tender pinto beans cooked with tomatoes and slightly spicy green chiles) to Trini Chickpea Curry, a slow-simmer stew-like mixture cooked with onion, garlic and lots of spices. As a lifelong refried bean enthusiast, I was delighted to learn that they also have two styles of refried beans – both black and pinto, both absolutely delicious.
WATCH: How to Make Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice
So far, I’ve eaten them for breakfast, on a pile of leftover brown rice, and tucked into a quickly heated tortilla, with an egg, or without, depending on my mood. For lunch, I’ve had the Trini Chickpea Curry by itself and with a scoop of roasted vegetables, and for dinner, I thinned out a packet of the Cuban black beans to make them soupier, and ate them with cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, and a little more of the leftover rice. This might seem like a lot of beans, but the variety of flavors and cooking preparations kept me interested – I felt the same satisfaction that I feel when I do a really god job with meal prep, except I spent Sunday afternoon binge-watching TV, and not cleaning my kitchen.
The recipes are inspired by the mixture of Caribbean, Creole and Latin American food the founder, Ibraheen Basir, grew up eating. Even the name is inspired by his big family. In addition to using their family’s recipes for the beans, the company also includes a broader social justice mission. Each year the company provides an annual grant to non-profit organizations that are working to eliminate socio-economic health disparities in the United States, so you can feel good about your beans, no matter what phase of quarantine bean you’ve arrived at.
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