Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

One of my favorite meals, growing up, was palomilla steak--steak pounded thin and cooked with garlic, onion, and lemon--which always came with plantains and black beans and rice. Whenever my family went to a restaurant with a Cuban menu, this is what I ordered. I loved the tang of the steak, the warm plantains. And the beans. Oh man, the beans. Onions and garlic and warm beans on some kind of seasoned white rice. Dee-licious.

My love of Cuban black beans has recently driven me to search for a recipe. Every recipe I found was slightly different from the others, and every recipe came with a story. Someone's grandmother's/mother's/neighbor's recipe. Some foods just need to be shared and talked about. This is a meal to eat with someone else. It's a conversation meal. These beans made me want to write a story.

But first, the recipe.

First order of business: I chopped up 3/4 of an onion. Because black beans love onions.

Then, a few cloves of garlic and some green pepper. You'll also need to get your hands on some tomato paste and pimentos (Weird, right? But I promise it's tasty.). Saute the onion and garlic until the onions are translucent, then throw in the green pepper.

You'll need some rice. You can cheat and make Minute Rice like I did.

But not sideways rice like this rice. Tut tut, uploader.

Some water and beans and seasonings later, you'll have yourself some tasty black beans. Top it with avocado and Tapatio if you like. I like.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

adapted from a recipe I can no longer find

16 oz. black beans
3/4 onion
1 green bell pepper
4 oz. chopped pimentos
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 oz. tomato paste
olive oil (for sautéing)
3-5 c. water
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1. tsp Adobo seasoning
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 c. uncooked rice

1. Saute chopped onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Then, saute the green pepper until slightly soft.
2. Add in tomato paste. Cook for a minute or so, until the paste is dispersed.
3. Add in water, beans, pimentos, and seasoning. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Cover and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. When the mixture thickens, it's done. Stir occasionally to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
4. Cook rice at appropriate time (depending on whether you're using Minute Rice or not). Serve beans over rice.

These beans have a slightly sweet flavor that I haven't tasted in other beans. Good stuff. Enjoy!

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