Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cuban Black Beans

beans and rice
If you had a Cuban grandmother this is what she would make for you.   My friend Emily, who is a wonderful cook, shared this recipe with me and I can’t count how many times I have made it since.  She got it from her college roommate, who got it from her very own Cuban grandmother.
Make this when you’re not going anywhere for a while.  Follow the recipe exactly, don’t take license with it, it’s not that kind of recipe.  You’re not going to improve it, it’s perfect the way it is.  Also, it tastes so much better than it looks in my pictures, it’s just not all that photogenic.

ladel of beans 
Take a ladleful of beans and put them into the peppers, oil and onions

mashed beans
give them a good mash and add them back into the pot of beans, it will make them creamy delicious.

 Cuban Black Beans

Cuban Black Beans
1 pound black beans
1 large green pepper
10 cups of water
2/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
2 Tablespoons olive oil

The Night Before:  Wash the beans, then soak the beans with about half of the green pepper (cut into chunks)  in 10 cups of water in a large pot overnight. 
The Next Day:

  1. Turn on the pot and cook in the same water until the beans are soft 45-60 min. depending on the age of the beans.

  2. While you’re doing this gently sautée the pepper, onion and garlic in the olive oil until they’re quite soft.

  3. Put one cup of beans (a ladleful) into the pan with the onions and peppers, and mash with a potato masher until most of the beans are mashed and it’s very creamy looking.

  4. Add these beans into the large pot.

  5. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, bay and sugar.

  6. Boil on low heat partially covered for 1 and a half to 2 hours- keep an eye on how thick it’s getting.

  7. Add the vinegar and wine and cook another 45 min to an hour.   You’ll probably need to stir them fairly frequently at this point.

  8. If there is still too much water, boil uncovered until they thicken.  This has never happened to me.

  9. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil before serving.

  10. Serve with plain white rice (you could do chicken or something too, but it’s a fine main dish)
When you get to the simmering stage you can throw it in a crockpot (ha, my spell-check wanted me to change this to crackpot)   and leave if you need to.   However, you will have to put it all back in the pot and boil uncovered later in order to get the right consistency.  I do this if I really need to, but it’s easier to just let it cook on the stove, which takes about 5 hours or so. . .It’s worth doubling this recipe and freezing portions, it freezes really well and takes no more time and effort to double. 


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