I drug out the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven and made a great pot of Black Bean / Pinto Bean Stew. This would have delicious on its own, but the jalapeno and cornmeal dumplings pushed it over the top. A little dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of my home made salsa rounded everything out beautifully.
Soaking the beans overnight will speed the cooking process. If you don't want to use dried beans, canned beans will work perfectly.
For the stew:
1 ham hock or ham bone
1/2 lb. dried black beans
1/2 lb. dried pinto beans
Water to cover beans
2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 jalapenos seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
1 can Mexican style corn, drained
Rinse and sort the beans in a large bowl. Discard any beans that are shriveled or bad. Cover with fresh water and let soak overnight.
In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, brown the ham bone or ham hock.
In a medium skillet, over medium high heat, add olive oil, onions, peppers and garlic. Stirring frequently, let vegetables soften, but not browned.
Drain soaking water from beans, add to the Dutch oven and cover with water. Add seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover and cook for 2 - 3 hours stirring occasionally. Add additional water if needed.
Approximately 30 minutes before serving, add corn and taste. Add salt and pepper and additional seasonings if you want a more spicy taste.
Now we'll make the dumplings: (from All Recipes)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 T. cold butter, cut into cubes
1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
Zest of one lime
1/2 cup buttermilk
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter and use a pastry blender, two knives or a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add jalapeno and lime zest and toss to coat. Add buttermilk and stir to form a dough.
Using generous tablespoonfuls of dough, drop 8 dumplings on top of the stew. Cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until dumplings are cooked through. Serve each portion of stew topped with a dumpling.