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Smoky Black Beans with Grilled Lamb

Yield Makes 4 servings
Notes: This recipe comes from Mark Kiffin, corporate executive chef of Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe.


  • 1 cup dried black beans such as Black Appaloosa or Black Valentine
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 fresh serrano chili, stemmed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups beef or lamb broth
  • 1/4 pound diced smoked bacon (preferably applewood-smoked)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 pound tomatoes (about 3)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram), plus marjoram sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 lamb loin chops (about 1 1/4 in. thick each, 1 1/2 lb. total), fat trimmed

Nutrition Information

  • calories 543
  • caloriesfromfat 40 %
  • protein 37 g
  • fat 24 g
  • satfat 8.5 g
  • carbohydrate 46 g
  • fiber 9.7 g
  • sodium 303 mg
  • cholesterol 80 mg

How to Make It

  1. Sort beans for debris, then rinse. Bring beans and 1 quart water to a boil over high heat in a 5- to 6-quart pan. Cover, boil for 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Beans are ready to cook after soaking for 2 hours, but are more digestible after 4 hours. To use, drain and rinse.

  2. In a 4- to 5-quart pan over high heat, bring 2 cups water, 1 cup chopped onion, cilantro, chili, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and oregano to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Whirl in a blender until smooth.

  3. In pan combine onion mixture, broth, and soaked beans. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium heat, frequently stir bacon and 1 1/2 cups onion until onion is deep golden, about 20 minutes. Stir in wine and set aside.

  5. On a rack in a 12- by 15-inch broiler pan, broil tomatoes 2 inches from heat, turning until blackened all over, about 15 minutes. Coarsely chop; set aside.

  6. Add bacon mixture, tomatoes, minced marjoram, and vinegar to beans. Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until beans are tender to bite and enough liquid evaporates to make a thick stew, 30 to 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  7. While beans simmer, sprinkle lamb all over with salt, pepper, and remaining cumin. Broil 2 inches below heat, turning once, until done to your liking, about 8 minutes for medium-rare.

  8. Spoon bean mixture into 4 wide soup bowls. Top each with a lamb chop, and garnish with marjoram sprigs.