Finely chop the onion, or use a food processor to chop it to small even pieces.
A medium saucepot and a big spoon
Put the saucepot on high heat. Pour in olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
After the pot has heated for a couple of minutes, put a couple of pieces of onion in and wait for them to start sizzling to indicate that it’s hot enough.
Add the onion. Cook for a few miniutes, stirring often.
Optional other vegetables: a bell pepper, a large carrot, a large mushroom, or any combination of these.
Chop the vegetables in the same way as you did the onion and add the to the pot, stirring often.
You can skip these vegetables if you’d like, but they add some nice color and flavor to the dish.
Garlic, several large cloves
Crush, peel, and mince the garlic.
Optional seasonings: basil, pinch of chili powder, black pepper
When the vegetables are softened, clear a space in the center of the pan and add the minced garlic and seasonings. Cook for a minute or two, stirring often.
The garlic should cook just long enough to produce the “cooked garlic” smell, not long enough to turn dark, so get the cans open and ready to add once the garlic is fragrent.
Canned black beans, 3 medium or 2 jumbo cans
Add beans, including the liquid from the cans. Simmer on high for a few minutes, stirring regularly.
When it’s boiling, turn the heat down to medium/low. Simmer for a half hour or longer, stirring occasionally, and making sure that it’s not sticking to the bottom. Longer is better! I simmer my beans with the lid on for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and simmer until thickened.
If the beans become too dry and thick, stir in a half cup of water. The result should be like a thick stew, not too dry and not overly soupy.
Balsamic vinegar (to taste, but perhaps between a quarter and half a cup)
Salt (to taste, perhaps around a teaspoon, unless your canned beans are already salted)
Add the vinegar and salt in small increments, adjusting the balance until the flavor is tangy.
Simmer for another five minutes as the tastes meld together.
Grated cheddar and/or goat cheese
Salsa or pico de gallo
Warm flour tortillas or crispy tortilla chips