There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen.....
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Since we lived for 8 years on the equator we didn't get to experience seasons. Well unless you call the monsoon a season.

Seasons are one of the things I have most looked forward to here in Tunisia. I think that we are on the brink of autumn. I have longed for autumn for many years now.  Once a friend mailed me a big box of maple leaves she had collected from her yard one October. I still remember the color of the leaves. I haven't seen such yellows and reds and oranges since then. They made my heart sing.

I do believe that autumn is my favorite season.  The mornings are crisp, the afternoons bright with sun, the evenings perfect for a walk and we can do what was unheard of while living in the tropics. Wear a sweater and hold hands. I know, so fun!

It has been many years since we have experienced autumn.  Not that what we have now would be considered autumn by most people. But it works for me. 

When the seasons change you find yourself changing how you dress, your activities and what you eat.  There is something about autumn and a big pot of something simmering on the stove that just seems right.

Black Beans and Rice
1 cup dried black beans rinsed

6 slices of bacon chopped
1 large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic peeled and left whole
2 bay leaves
6 cups of chicken broth
2 red bell peppers, roasted, seeded and chopped. From a jar is fine
1, 15 oz. can of chopped tomatoes drained well
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Rice for serving

Place the black beans in a large bowl and cover with 2-3 inches of cold water.  Soak the beans overnight.

Drain the beans and rinse them well. In a large saucepan place the beans, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and 4 cups of chicken broth. When cooking black beans a ratio of 3 cups liquid to 1 cup beans is typically used. I find however that I like to use more liquid, usually 4-6 cups depending on the consistency I want in the finished product. Bring the beans and broth to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for one hour or until very tender.  Add more broth as needed to your liking.

Meanwhile, sauté the bacon over medium high heat until the fat renders and the bacon begins to brown.  Pour off most of the fat. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is softened and the bacon is crisp. Add the roasted peppers and the tomatoes.  Sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the bacon mixture and cayenne pepper to the beans and simmer for 15 minutes.

Adjust seasoning, remove garlic cloves and bay leaves. Serve over rice garnished with cilantro.


  1. I would like to shout out the praises of these beans. We skipped the bacon and used veggie broth (sometimes I freak out about meat) and tossed in spinach (because that's what we do), and it still turned out fab. I love soaking beans and then slow cooking them. So satisfying. Probably wasn't the best meal to serve my gouty better half, but man these beans were gorgeous. Tonight I'm wrapping the leftovers in tortillas and pouring your Ale Enchilada sauce over them for round two (Now I sound like a gout sadist). Anyway, thanks for this Kaye Syrah. Delish.

  2. Thanks B! I have a crazy fetish for black beans, glad you like them. I'll have to try them with the ale sauce. Good call!