Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mofo 2010: Cuban Black Beans

I can't believe we're already a week in Vegan Mofo and I haven't gotten one post up. Sigh. Between making actual progress on my dissertation, grading, and the destructive force of a particular 23 pound toddler, I simply haven't made time for posting (nor have I for weeks, as is obvious from the date of the last post. The good news, however, is that I've taken pictures of a few dishes and they will be posted soon.

The first is my neighbor's Cuban Black Beans. These have become a staple around this house, since all 3 of us LOVE them. In fact, to see just how popular they are, you can read all about Eames's bean butt over at the other blog (Sorry if you came here for more civilized conversation).

Cuban Black Beans (served here with chili-roasted sweet potatoes and TJ's cornbread)

1 lb. dried black beans, sorted and soaked overnight

Rinse soaked black beans and cover with 1 inch of water in either a crockpot or regular pot. Add the following to the uncooked beans:

1 can diced tomatoes
1 t oregano
1/2 t cumin
1 bay leaf

If cooking in the slowcooker, cook on high for about five and a half hours. If cooking on the stovetop, do the norm: Bring water and beans to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When beans are al dente, add the following ingredients to the beans:

The Sofrito: Make this while the beans are cooking so it's ready to go in when they're done.  You want to cook this as long as possible over medium heat to bring out the flavor. In other words, cook them to within an inch of their lives, but don't brown them if possible.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, small dice
1 bell pepper, small dice
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

After the sofrito, add the following (adjust to your taste):
2-3 T red wine vinegar
2-3 t salt
fresh ground pepper

Let the beans cook for another 30-40 to really let the flavor meld. The beans should still be in tact, but they should also be really soft. Taste again for vinegar (which will mellow). For a traditional take on the dish, serve over rice (I prefer brown). A dollop of cashew sour cream, some cilantro, and a slice of lime finish the dish perfectly.

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