Red Chile Kidney Beans and Samp

by R.B. Quinn
kidney beans

Red chile, kidney beans, and samp really swing together in the same dish. And when your red chile paste is already made and in the freezer, it’s just a matter of cooking the kidneys (unless canned) and the samp (separately), and mixing it all together on one pan.  Here’s how to make a good pot of beans in the crockpot.

Samp is basically dried corn kernels, akin to hominy (which is soaked in lye). Samp offers big corny taste and a chewy texture that compliments any beans. We often add it to a pot of chili both for added flavor and to stretch out the dish. It’s a staple of African cuisine and in colonial New England, the Narragansett Indians grew corn for samp which they called “nasaump.” Thus we now have “samp.”

Samp needs to soak in boiling water for 30 or so minutes before being boiled until tender.

You can find samp in most international markets. We buy it in the Portuguese section of Stop & Shop in Rhode Island.

You don’t need your “recipe brain” for this dish whatsoever. All you need to combine in a pan are:

— cooked (or canned) beans such as kidney or red beans and pinto beans–cook the dried beans with onion and garlic or saute and onion and some garlic in oil before adding the canned beans;

— soaked and boiled samp; and

— several healthy scoops of red chile paste,  cumin powder and a good pinch of oregano.  Add salt, to taste.  You can even add a big spoonful of tomato paste, if you like

Heat through and serve with fresh chopped toppings like green onion, jalapeno pepper, tomato, cucumber and cilantro. Add a stack or bowl of good corn tortilla chips or cast iron skillet cornbread, or for the plant-forward crowd, a big cold bowl of fresh Romaine lettuce spears. Their structure makes them great for scooping dishes of substance.  And you will not miss the meat.  The kidney beans and the samp are both meaty in texture.


kidney beans

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