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Anasazi Beans with Ginger



1. Rinse beans well. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the beans, bay leaf, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Skim off foam. Reduce heat and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Transfer the beans to a 4-quart saucepan. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups water, onion, garlic, ginger, dried red pepper, cumin, salt, and molasses.

Stir to combine, and then cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally as you prepare the vegetables, about 15 minutes.

3. Peel and seed the squash, then cut it into small, 1/2 inch dice. Add the squash to the beans and cook until it is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the cauliflower into small florets and place it in a steamer rack, set in a 2-quart saucepan over rapidly boiling water. Cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain immediately.

4. When the squash is tender, stir in the peas and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat, then stir in the toasted cumin seeds. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the beans surrounded with the steamed cauliflower, or mix the cauliflower into the beans if they are to be used as a filling. The dish can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and actually tastes best when it's been refrigerated over night.

It makes a nice filling for tortillas and can be layered with Spanish rice, tortillas and soy cheddar to make an excellent tortilla casserole dish.