Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cuban Black Beans

I have a number of posts in progress and I'm bouncing between writing them and taking my kids to all their meet-the-teacher events in anticipation of school opening next week; but in the meantime, here's how to make Cuban Black Beans.

If my family had to agree on one meal that everyone would eat regularly, I think this would be it. My mom made a version of it for us growing up, and I'm so glad it's still part of my family's tradition.

1 lb. dried black beans*
2 onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
bay leaf
1/2 c. vinegar

package taco seasoning
splash lime juice (optional)

*I don't ever cook with canned beans, but the internet 'says' that it would equal about 4 cans of black beans. Don't drain them for this recipe.

Cover dry beans with water and let stand covered overnight. 
Drain and discard water.
Place the cleaned black beans in a large 6-quart saucepan. Add 5 c. water and 1 T. olive oil, bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour or more.
Do not add salt to the beans when they are cooking. Salt at this stage of the game will make your beans very tough. Also do not drain the water from the cooked beans.
Meanwhile, chop onion and green pepper, then saute in remaining olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute or so.
Finally, add the cooked beans, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, vinegar, salt, and taco seasoning. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. If you have one, it's good to take a potato masher and work it in the stew until there is a little more thick, pasty consistency -- but it's not absolutely necessary.
Add additional salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste and serve over rice.

We also usually top them with your typical taco/tostada toppings, such as shredded cheese, lettuce, fresh diced tomatoes, salsa and sour cream. It makes an incredibly filling, colorful, textured and tasty meal.

This recipe probably serves 4. (We usually double it.)

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