Monday, January 16, 2017

Cuban-style Black Beans - Video Recipe

Growing up in the South I had my share of beans: spicy chili beans, Tex-Mex pinto, salty boiled peanuts, tender limas, and luscious slow-simmered black-eyed and green peas with ham hock. Upon moving to Los Angeles, I eventually got around to trying Cuban-style Black Beans served at Versailles, our premier local Cuban Restaurant.

Black Beans have taken over the top spot as my favorite legume. Just check out my recipe video below and try it out sometime, and they may one day be your favorite cooked beans, too.

Cuban-style Black Beans - Video

Play it here. Video runs 2 minutes, 42 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

What makes Cuban-style Black Beans taste different is the addition of vinegar, wine, bell pepper and a little sugar. It's that yin and yang pull of sour and sweet flavors that make this recipe so enticing. The other ingredients are typical for slow-cooking legumes, and include: onion, garlic, dried cumin and oregano.

 I've found black beans are a little more expensive than pinto beans, but I still find them on sale at my local Latin market sometimes for less than a dollar per pound, and 99c only Stores stock one pound bags, too.

You can soak the beans overnight in water to speed up cooking by an hour or so, but it's okay to just start the pot of beans the same day, but give yourself 3-5 hours of slow-simmering time, until beans are tender. (You may want a book handy to help fill the time.)

And when they are done, you can keep them heating on low until are ready to serve. And as usual, beans reheated the next day are the best - they've had time for all the flavors to marinate to perfection.

What do you serve with my Cuban-style Black Beans? Start with steamed white rice. Make the rice following package directions. When done add to a bowl and spoon on plenty of Black Beans with the sauce -- it's simply delish.

If you are ambitious then roast a whole pork leg quarter for Cuban Roast Pork. A classic Cuban Lunch is comprised of roast pork, fried plantains, black beans and white rice. Just click here to see all the Cuban Recipes I've come up with so far.

I also make a mean Huevos Rancheros (click here for recipe) substituting refried black beans for refried pinto beans.

So put on a slow-cooking pot of my Cuban-style Black Beans and allow the kitchen to reach a steamy tropical fragrance.

Click on any photo to see larger.

Ingredients (6-8 servings)
  • 1 pound dried black beans - about 2 cups.
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper - chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic - chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano - fresh or dried.
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar - white or any favorite like: rice, red wine or apple cider vinegar.
  • 3/4 cup red or white wine - I used red wine. Okay to substitute with apple juice.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil - for sauteing veggies
  • Salt and pepper to taste - about 1/2 teaspoon total

Chop onion, bell pepper and garlic. Add tablespoon of oil to pot. Saute onion and bell pepper about 5 minutes.

Stir in chopped garlic, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper. (If you are the type who believes simmering with salt makes the beans tough, then add salt towards the end of cooking, when beans are tender.) This is a basic Sofrito that flavors any Caribbean slow-cooked stews and beans.

Pour in wine and vinegar.

Rinse beans and remove any debris.

Finally add rinsed black beans and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook black beans until tender, about 3-5 hours. You can reduce cooking time by an hour by first soaking the black beans overnight. Cook to desired tenderness.

Cooking time varies with cooking temperature. A high simmer will shorten the cooking time. I go for a low simmer so the water doesn't evaporate too quickly and the beans burn - it's easier to control. You can do a high simmer, but stir and check on the water level often. Either way, check on beans and add water as needed during cooking.

As with any type of slow cooking, make sure to stir from time-to-time. Sometimes the beans will stick to the bottom of the pot, so scrape and stir before they burn.

If you like watery soup, then recipe is ready when beans are tender. You can thicken the bean sauce a couple of ways. Cook beans uncovered for half an hour or so, to reduce and thicken the liquid. Or, try mashing some beans against the side of the pot and stir to thicken.

Serve over white or brown rice. And you can serve my Cuban-style Black Beans with the other Cuban recipes listed earlier.

After you've made this recipe once, see if you would like to add more or less sugar next time. Same applies for vinegar. To me those are the dominate flavorings, so adjust ingredients to your palate. It's all good.

This is a vegetarian version, but you can add meat, like: a ham steak, ham hock, ham bone, or a couple slices of bacon. Put meat in the bean pot when you add the water. You might want to brown the bacon first, that way you can add as much bacon grease as you like. 

1 comment:

B. Keene said...

This looks easy to make, I'll be trying it.

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