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The dish is simple. I usually just boil beans, add sautéed onions and garlic, season with cumin, then eat with steamed rice. I love the flavor as it is.

I have a problem with the texture. If I leave the water in the beans, the dish becomes, well, watery (I don't want soup). If I drain the water, I'm left with a rather dry rice and bean dish.

Rather than draining the water, I'd like to add something that would change its texture.

I've tried thickening the dish with flour and cornstarch, but I end up with a pastey texture. I'd like a more syrupy/creamy texture (think baked beans from a can).

Suggestions?

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This question appears to be off-topic because it is what compliments X question -- see meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/1645/… –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 10 at 5:27
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@SAJ14SAJ Could it possibly be interpreted as a "Recipe repair" as on the about page? –  stewSquared Jan 10 at 5:29
    
You have already addressed the repair issue, adding a sauce. Now there are an infinite number of things you could do, including ketchup itself. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 10 at 5:33
    
@stewSquared I'm with SAJ14SAJ on this one. If you come up with a sauce and want help with it, it'd be different, but this is too open ended. There is virtually no limit to the sauces that you could use. –  sourd'oh Jan 10 at 5:33
    
What if I rephrase it this way: "Which sauces are most commonly paired with black beans?" –  stewSquared Jan 10 at 5:35
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What I would suggest is rather than adding a syrup, to take some of your cooked beans, cook them a bit more, then liquify them in a blender. This should give you a thick sauce that tastes like the beans, therefore compliments them perfectly. You can then thicken them very slightly if the consistency is still too runny, be sparing with the flour though.

In fact, you could probably make something satisfactory by simply using less thickener. If you have a pasty, sticky sauce it's a classic symptom of too much thickener. Try making a roux with some butter and flour, cook it awhile for a dark roux which gives deeper color and more flavor. You can then add the roux in small amounts to your cooking liquid until you get the right consistency.

If you are pressed for time and have some available a couple big spoons of refried beans may just do the trick too.

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If you're lazy about cleaning things like I am, or you want a more 'rustic' feel to the dish, just mash a few of the beans and stir 'em back in, then let it cook for a while longer so the starches disperse. –  Joe Jan 10 at 21:46
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Baked beans have a syrupy texture largely due to... syrup. They are cooked with a lot of sugar, so the liquid becomes a syrup. You could try draining off most of the water from your beans after cooking them, add your seasonings, tomatoes of some form (canned?), and sugar. Simmer that until the liquid is reduced and thickened.

Another common way to get a creamy texture in bean dishes is to remove some of the beans, puree them, and then stir them back into the pot. Upon further simmering, the starches from the pureed beans will thicken the remaining liquid.

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Aha, I might just try pureeing. Sugar is essential to syrup, isn't it? Is there a less-sweet alternative to syrup? –  stewSquared Jan 10 at 5:51
    
Hmm, a quick google search reveals "brown rice syrup." I just might try that, too! –  stewSquared Jan 10 at 5:54
    
@stewSquared Brown rice syrup is still a sweetener, albeit a bit less sweet than sugar. You might try a little bit of molasses? That's fairly typical in baked bean recipes and would add more complexity than just sweetness. –  sourd'oh Jan 10 at 15:26
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