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 Cuban Black Beans (and rice)

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BT

  • Total Posts: 3589
  • Joined: 7/3/2004
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
Cuban Black Beans (and rice) Tue, 11/23/10 2:31 PM (permalink)
This recipe was given to me by the grandmother of a friend, all 3 generations of their family having fled Castro together (but the Grandma being, of course, the best cook).  I make it in a crock pot which was NOT how Grandma did it but it works well.  You, of course, can use a crock pot or not as you want.
 
Ingredients:
- 1 lb black (turtle) beans, covered with 2 inches or so of water and soaked at least overnight
- 4-6 oz (4 to 6 thick slices) bacon or salt pork
- 1 green pepper
- 1 1/2 medium onions
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (14 oz) tomatoes, crushed (you can use ready-crushed tomatoes and you can use a larger can such as 28 oz.  I like it kind of tomatoey so I often do use a larger can.
- 1 large or 2 smaller bay leaves
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 1 tsp oregano (or a bit more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp vinegar (I like sherry vinegar but red wine vinegar will do)
- 1/2 tsp Tabasco (or more as desired)
 
Combine in pot (crock or otherwise) the soaked beans with their soaking liquid, 1/2 green pepper cut into 2 pieces, 1 onion skinned and quartered, 2 cloves garlic, the bay leaf (or leaves), the bacon or salt pork chopped, the tomatoes and 2 tbsp olive oil.  Cook until beans are soft and begin to break down.  In a crock pot this may take  as long as 15 hours on high--I usually put them on in the evening and by noon the next day they are done.  In a regular pot, it should take a few hours.  Be sure to sample one or two beans to be sure they are really done.  With a fork, remove as much of any remaining chunks of green pepper, onion and bay leaves as you can from the pot (I usually scoop them into a small bowl, then remove as much of the inevitably adhering beans and sauce as I can and return that to the pot).
 
In a small skillet or sauce pot, combine 1/2 cup olive oil, the remaining half green pepper (chopped), the remaining half onion (chopped) and the remaining 2 cloves garlic.  Saute until veggies are soft.  Add oregano, cumin, salt, and vinegar.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add to beans along with the Tabasco.
 
Beans are done.  They may be allowed to cool, stored and reheated for serving or served immediately.  Like many such dishes, I find they improve with storage.
 
Serve them over cooked white rice, sprinkled with chopped raw onion and a sauce made of 2/3 good (pref. extra virgin) olive oil and 1/3 good vinegar (again, I like sherry vinegar but red wine vinegar will do).
 
 
 
#1
    shortchef

    • Total Posts: 624
    • Joined: 1/28/2004
    • Location: Nokomis, FL
    Re:Cuban Black Beans (and rice) Sun, 11/28/10 4:10 PM (permalink)
    That sounds so good. Time to make beans, I think. What would happen if i used about five cans of black beans instead, to cut down on the cooking time? Can I leave in the peppers and onions? How about taking them out and pureeing them with some of the beans and liquid, then adding them back in?Not trying to mess with your recipe, just sayin'.
     
     
    #2
      Michael Hoffman

      • Total Posts: 17801
      • Joined: 7/1/2000
      • Location: Gahanna, OH
      Re:Cuban Black Beans (and rice) Sun, 11/28/10 4:44 PM (permalink)
      That sounds terrific. I've never had black beans and rice with anything but yellow rice.
       
      #3
        BT

        • Total Posts: 3589
        • Joined: 7/3/2004
        • Location: San Francisco, CA
        Re:Cuban Black Beans (and rice) Sun, 11/28/10 11:38 PM (permalink)
        Michael Hoffman


        That sounds terrific. I've never had black beans and rice with anything but yellow rice.

         
        I don't see why you couldn't use yellow rice.  I got some achiote paste at the supermarket the other day and you could just add a little to the cooking water (most Latin cooks use achiote rather than the much, much more expensive saffron to make rice yellow I believe).
         
        But as far as I know, the traditional "Moros y Cristianos" is black beans (the Moors) and white rice (the Christians).  I'll accept correction from any genuine Cuban readers, though.
        <message edited by BT on Sun, 11/28/10 11:39 PM>
         
        #4
          BT

          • Total Posts: 3589
          • Joined: 7/3/2004
          • Location: San Francisco, CA
          Re:Cuban Black Beans (and rice) Sun, 11/28/10 11:50 PM (permalink)
          shortchef


          What would happen if i used about five cans of black beans instead, to cut down on the cooking time? Can I leave in the peppers and onions? How about taking them out and pureeing them with some of the beans and liquid, then adding them back in?Not trying to mess with your recipe, just sayin'.


           
          You could use canned beans but they are already cooked, aren't they?  You wouldn't want to cook them again long enough to break down the bacon and veggies as happens with dried beans.  I also wonder if you wouldn't end up with a more pronounced and unamalgamated tomato flavor--you may have to experiment some, trying maybe tomato puree in a lesser amount (or even just a tbsp or two of tomato paste).
          If you want to leave in the peppers and onions, I'd chop them finely before adding them at the beginning.  You can do that and I don't think it would make a huge difference but I wanted to present the recipe the way I got it.  I have even gone so far as to fish out the chunks of onion and pepper, puree them and put them back in thinking it would add flavor but it actually did add a flavor that seemed a little "off" to me.  These veggies, after all, have contributed most of their actual flavor to the beans after such a long cooking time.
           
          I don't mind your "messing with" the recipe.  IMHO recipes are made to be "messed with" and I do it all the time.   Sometimes its an improvement, sometimes not but you never know until you try.
           
          #5
            Michael Hoffman

            • Total Posts: 17801
            • Joined: 7/1/2000
            • Location: Gahanna, OH
            Re:Cuban Black Beans (and rice) Mon, 11/29/10 5:43 PM (permalink)
            I'm afraid I've only seen it on menus as Habas negras y arroz amarillo.
             
            #6
              Greymo

              • Total Posts: 3660
              • Joined: 11/30/2005
              • Location: Marriottsville, MD
              Re:Cuban Black Beans (and rice) Thu, 12/23/10 6:01 PM (permalink)
              BT    I made your recipe for dinner tonight.  It was delicious.  I  served it  with  Chorizo  sausage  amd  baked sweet potatoes  Everyone  was happy!
               
              #7
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