• Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

  • Time: 5 minutes prep, 18 minutes cooking

 You’d never guess you can create such lushness from opening three cans. Cinnamon and cloves with beans make an uncommon blend, but one that turns the beans sweet and fragrant. This was Sally’s first grown-up recipe, the remains of her obligatory vegetarian phase in college. These beans are what she craves when she’s tired, what she makes when she comes home from a trip and the cupboard is bare, and when she suddenly has seven children for dinner instead of two. The beans make a sublime burrito. Dip tortilla chips or stovetop-grilled whole wheat tortillas into them, and be sure to pass hot sauce and grated cheese at the table.

Cook to Cook: Melting in a small amount of butter after mashing the beans brings this dish together. Don’t skip this step. Beans hold in the refrigerator 5 days; add liquid when reheating as needed. 


  • Good tasting extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice

  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper

  • 4 garlic cloves, fine chopped

  • 1 fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and fine chopped

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained

  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1-1/2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • Freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift


1. Generously film the bottom of a 10-inch skillet with the olive oil, and heat over medium high. Sauté the onions with salt and pepper to taste until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. You want to hear a sizzle as they cook.

2. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook the mix until it is fragrant, about 1 minute, taking care not to burn the spices. Add the tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pan. Sauté another minute.

3. Stir in the beans and water. Bring to a fast simmer, crushing the beans with a potato masher (or the back of a large spoon) as they cook, and scraping the bottom of the pan as the beans begin to thicken. Simmer until the beans are thick, about 10 minutes. Blend in the butter, and taste for seasoning just before serving and top with grated cheese.

Reprinted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2008). Copyright 2008 by American Public Media.

Sally Swift
Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.