Sunday, January 24, 2010

Black bean cakes with Florence

While listening to Florence and the Machine this morning, my latest music obsession (and the name of my late grandma, without the machine part), I had a craving for one my favorite all time beans cakes with roasted tomatillo salsa, cheese grits and buttermilk biscuits. This is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants, Flying Biscuit, in Atlanta. It takes a bit of work, so I only attempt this brunch when I have some time, and am not in a rush, but is so worth it!! And the best of all, it is all gluten-free!

So let's start from the beginning, what do you need get this shebang on the road......

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten-free baking flour (I used Whole Foods 365 All-Purpose Baking Mix)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (I used Arrowhead Mills organic buckwheat flour)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 stick of butter at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
Black bean cakes
  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup harina de maiz (I use P.A.N.)
  • chopped feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion, freshly chopped cilantro as toppings
Roasted tomatillo salsa
  • 1 1/2 pound tomatillos, cleaned and halved
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 3 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
Cheese grits
  • 1 cup of grits (I used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free polenta/grits)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
Eggs, optional....I personally like over-medium with my black beans cakes.

I never said the grits and biscuits were healthy!

Ok, where to start, this is one brunch with lots of components, and you want to make sure it is all done at the same time and heated or cooled as it should be perfectly. Timing is key. So this is how I like to manage it...

I like to start with the tomatillo salsa, so let's go:

Heat the oven to 350', in the meantime place the tomatillos, onion and garlic in a roasting pan and cook for 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, put contents in the blender with the cilantro and puree. Pour into a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge until the everything else is finished.

Turn oven to 425' for the biscuits to come next...

While the tomatillos are roasting, let's get started on the biscuits....Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl, work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the mixture is the constancy of small peas, next slowly stir in the buttermilk until mixture comes together.

Form six 3-inch wide biscuits, about 3/4-inch thick with your hands. I like to put a little buttermilk on the top of each biscuit and sprinkle with sugar. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. When ready, bake for 18 minutes or until starting to brown.

While the biscuits are cooling and baking, prepare the *star* of the show, the black beans cakes....
Place the rinsed beans in a large mixing bowl.

In a small pan, heat 1 T of the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and cumin until onions are translucent. When finished add to the beans and mash with a potato masher until well blended with a smooth consistency. Add the harina until the dough no longer sticks to your hands and you can form a patty. I wet my hands a bit with water. Form into 3-inch patties, will make about 8.

Now for the grits, and you don't have to be southern to love them....heat 3 cups of water in a sauce pan for the grits, while at the same time heating the remaining 1 T of olive oil on medium-high heat in a skillet. Place the black bean patties on the skillet and cook 3-5 minutes per side.

While these are cooking, add the grits to the boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and cheese and salt and pepper if desired.

At this time cook your eggs.

By now, the black beans cakes should be finished. Add the patties to a plate, and spoon the chilled tomatillo sauce on top and add red onion, feta and cilantro. Serve with the eggs, grits and biscuits. Sometimes I like to split my biscuit in half and spread with jam...fresh jam, if I have it on hand is the yummiest!

Ignore the does leave quite a bit of fallout in the kitchen, ignore the calories and enjoy!

I love using the leftover salsa (if there is any) as a dip later in the day with some corn chips (Xochitl, my fav chips ever!!), or to add to pasta with some feta cheese for lunch the next day.


  1. I will try your biscuit recipe with Jules gf flour and see how they turn out. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Anne, this sounds really delicious. I will def try it, .. and probably add bloody mary!