Onward with more Cuban dishes that we have fallen in love with. My last post was none other than the classic Ropa Vieja! Well, you can’t have a Cuban meal without black beans, now can you? The Ropa Vieja is a slow cooker shredded beef dish that I traditionally serve over white rice and black beans on the side.
It’s easy enough to open a can of black beans and doctor it up a bit to create your own Cuban beans, and I’m not above doing that. If you’re like me and have those days you’d just like to start with a bag of dried beans, then this is the recipe for you. While it does take more time to cook, it’s as simple as soaking and cooking the dried beans in water, then adding the seasonings and cook a little longer. Nothing complicated, just a little more time to make your house smell so inviting.
This recipe is a slight adaptation of a recipe by Three Guys from Miami, icuban.com. With their help and the help of an authentic group of wonderful folks that grew up in the Cuban community and have recipes that were handed down from generation to generation, this is my favorite Cuban Black Beans.
Here’s how I make it.
Cuban Black Beans
The first thing you’ll want to do, is soak the dried black beans overnight in 6 cups water, covered.
I usually soak them in my 5-6 quart pot and just use the lid.
Then drain off the water and add 9 cups fresh water and 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. The olive oil will help control the amount of foaming that happens when you start boiling the beans.
Bring the beans and water to a boil. To help speed up the time in bring it to a boil, I do place the lid on. But fair warning, if it starts foaming, it will come out of the pot and make a mess on your cook top. So, watch it closely and when it just starts bubbling, remove the lid and let it bubble for 15 or so minutes. By then the foaming is subsiding.
Place the lid back on the pot, reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally.
Note: Most of the Cuban community prefer to cook with standard olive oil over the extra virgin. However, I typically don’t keep the standard on hand and used the extra virgin.
Now we’re ready to add F L A V O R.
In a medium skillet, saute’ the onions in olive oil over medium heat until they are tender, but not brown. Don’t want to fry them, just saute’ them.
To the cooked beans, add the sauteed onions, garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, bay leaf, white distilled vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour in the dry red wine.
Bring the beans back to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
What kind of red wine? Well, to be authentic about it, you should use a Spanish red wine. I didn’t have any and used a Cabernet Sauvignon. Others that would work are a Red Zinfandel or Merlot. I also keep a bottle of burgundy cooking wine in the pantry for times that I’m out of everything!
Remove the bay leaf.
Typically, Cuban Black Beans are not watery. They have a thicker consistency and that’s the way Paul loves them. So, I take out about a cup of the beans, give or take, and mash them with a fork to create a paste. Add them back to the beans to thicken them.
Want it thicker? Just get another scoop of the beans, mash them and add those back to the pot until you get the consistency you like.
Add the sugar and a couple more Tablespoons of olive oil, stir and continue simmering on your lowest setting until you’re ready to scoop it into a bowl…
…maybe even over rice? That’s how I like mine. Just saying…
I’m in loooove…
What are you serving yours with? Ropa Vieja? How about Mojo Pork! Next week, I’ll be posting the most delicious, bar none, our favorite Picadillo and Beef Empanadas! You just gotta come back for those!!! Lip smacking good!
Check these out!