Sunday, September 2, 2012

Easy Black Beans - Cuban (or is that Puerto Rican?) Style

Beans and Rice are a favorite food at our house. Black, Red, Navy, Pink, Pinto - we love them all.

This recipe is my version of Cuban Black Beans (no meat) with a little of the Puerto Rican influence from some south Milwaukee places that I remember. Is it authentic? Well, no.... But everyone loves them. I am happy to use dry beans but I never seem to plan well enough - so canned it is. Also, this is a great dish for your Le Creuset Pot, or other heavy enameled cast iron pot with tight fitting lid.

Rice I am not going to tell you how to cook - we are eating more brown rice as it is moderately healthy for you (compared to white rice), but make whatever you like. Follow the directions on the package.

Black Beans - Made of Love

3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 medium green pepper, chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, minced (use fresh, and don't use a press)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced small. Feel free to substitute fresh pumpkin, or other squash)
1/2 can vegetarian broth
1/2 cup Alcaparrado drained(green olives, capers and red peppers (aka pimentos)- easy to find in your local mexican/puerto rican or other grocery.
1/2 cup sherry
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs ground pepper
1 bay leaf olive oil 

Saute onion and green pepper until very soft (in about 1 tbs olive oil), but not browned. Add garlic, saute for another 2 minutes. Add all other ingredients. Bring to simmer. Put on lid, cook for about 1/2 an hour. Check and add more broth as needed. You need to cook the sweet potatoes, but you don't want soup here - you want it fairly thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Some cooks add sugar at this point, but I find the sweet potato add enough, plus, way better for you. Many recipes call for vinegar, but the Alcaparrado adds that zing, plus extra.

Feel free to take a cup of the beans out, mash them fine and add it back in to thicken it up. After you have adjusted seasonings, keep at low for 10 minutes and serve.

Great thing about this dish is once it is cooked, you can turn it to low and it will be great for an hour or more - so it is easy to fit with the rest of the meal. Serve with a salad, roast pork or even better, crock pot cuban style pork shoulder My only change to that recipie is drop the chili pepper, use Penzey's Adobe seasoning in its place.

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