Lots of people go to El Pollo Loco for the chicken, which makes an easy take-home dinner. But some people go just for the smoky black beans. Smooth and creamy, the beans are sweet with molasses, spicy with chiles and smoky from ham. They don't have to play second fiddle to anything.
Serve them as a main dish accompanied by the fresh salsa that comes with each order, a salad and garlic bread or tortillas.
And if you've got your own simple meat dish cooking and need a simple side, the beans are terrific with pork, beef and, of course, chicken.
Smoky black beans, at all El Pollo Locos. Prices vary according to location but start at 99 cents for a 6-ounce container and $2 for a pint.