Gregory’s exquisite BLACK BEANS. Well I think so, my friends and family certainly enjoy them. I was born in Cuba and raised in Miami around a household that was always in the kitchen. At first I had very little interest on what was on the stove and more on what I was going to eat. But one day, as I watched my mother make her wonderful recipes, I decided to joined her. What happened next was my meals were as good as hers and some, with all due respect to Mom, were better. I rarely go out to eat a Cuban meal since it is so simple to make at home. I find most restaurants enhance the recipes with pre-mixes of spices that contain MSG and are simply terrible, will not mention brand names. Or they enhance heavily with the wrong amount of spice (mostly Cumin) and call it Cuban food – wrong! With Cuban cuisine it is not about heavy handed spices- but, how well you use them. One in particular to carefully monitor is Cumin; taste the essence of the flavor and not the spice before your recipe. This I feel even with established Chefs that cook Cuban cusine is the most common mistake.
I am extremely picky with my cooking, ingredients and protocol to serving the proper dish and the first recipe I achieved this with is my Cuban Black Beans. I do not eat meat, poultry, pork but do cook them with enjoyment. Mostly I am a fish-atarian. In my recipe I use only the basics, onions, green peppers, garlic, olive oil- the core in most Cuban dishes. But, before you venture and make them note a few things about CUBAN cuisine… It is not SPICY it is properly SEASONED, yellow rice or saffron rice does not belong on your plate with your black beans. Understand the essence of yellow rice and how to apply it- that is another recipe.
Yield: Serves 12-15
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 24 hrs
- Active: 1.5 hrs
- 2 – 1lb. Bags of Goya Black Beans (I like the size and texture of their beans when cooked)
- 2 – Medium to Large Spanish Onions, Red Onion works as well (To be used at different times)
- 2 – Medium to Large Green Peppers (To be used at different times)
- 8 – Large Garlic Cloves (To be used at different times)
- 6 – Dried Bay Leaves (To be used at different times)
- Coarse Salt (Used as you cook, you must taste as you go and depending on your salt level add accordingly)
- Fresh Pepper (Ground Black Pepper also for a touch later)
- Olive Oil (Either Goya Spanish Olive Oil or Sicilian Olive Oil its hearty and cloudy and great for beans)
- 1-Teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Ground Cumin
- TOOLS 1- 8qt Slow Cooker with Lid, cast iron & enamel is best, I recommend STAUB unconditionally! 1 – 9.5 Stainless Steel Fry Pan, 7 ply is best I recommend Viking! Chef Knife or Santoku to chop/dice and prep the vegetables Paring Knife Measuring Spoons Food Mill Medium Size bowl Tongs Oh yes… a nice piece of soft/textured French bread cut into slices for your tasting as you go…. Yummy! To make the perfect black bean recipe shop at www.bluecashew.com !
- PREPARATION (THE SOAKING OF THE BEANS) Clean/rinse the beans very carefully several times they might contain little pebbles. Once cleaned place the beans in the pot
- Cut 1- Spanish Onion into quarters–place in the pot
- Cut 1- Green Pepper remove seeds into quarters–place in the pot
- 1-Teaspoon of Ground Cumin–place in the pot
- 1-Teaspoon of Coarse Salt–place in the pot
- 1-Teaspoon of Black Pepper–place in the pot
- 1 1/2-Tablespoon of Olive Oil–place in the pot
- 4-Large Peeled Garlic Cloves – Use your paring knife and cut a slit into them–place in the pot
- Add 3- Dried Bay Leaves
- I like to use my hands, but spoons work as well, mix all together. The aroma is great! Fill the pot with water about 1 inch above the bean line, cover and soak overnight for at least 12 hours….
- IN THE MORNING (THE FUN BEGINS) Check the bean water line- water has been absorbed, add more, at least 1-inch above the bean line Bring to a high boil for about 5minutes, stir and reduce to low heat Cook uncovered for about 2 1/2 hours
- Skim occasionally and stir–check the water line, never let it dry out, check bean tenderness. If you need to add more water it must be warm/hot.
- After 2 1/2 hours the vegetables (onion, green pepper, cloves, etc. have basically dissolved to nothing). Discard the bay leaves and remove the vegetables with your tongs and transfer to a bowl. Next transfer into a food mill- if you leave a few vegetables behind in the pot it is fine. Add some liquid of the beans to your food mill with the vegetables and create a nice paste- add back to the pot….
- Taste the bean tenderness most should have cracked and they should be tender not MUSH, not hard…Continue to cook on low heat…. Add your last 3-remaining bay leaves. Add some fresh cracked pepper – to taste. (Less is more, you can always add more)
- FINAL STEP…. MAKING THE SOFRITO! Fry Pan is now needed
- Finely dice/cube your remaining onion,green pepper(seeds removed) and garlic cloves – set aside
- Add about 1/4 cup of olive oil to the fry pan low heat until FRAGRANT do not smoke it at all
- Add the garlic, stir, do not let it brown
- Add the onion, continue to stir until opaque and tender about 8-10 minutes
- Add the green pepper cook until tender
- Add pinch of salt to taste
- Add pinch of black ground pepper
- Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (sometimes I use the cap of the bottle as the measurement)
- Add the cumin–1teaspoon
- Stir – mix well making sure all flavors are combined
- Remove from heat and add all contents to the beans that are still cooking at low temp. Continue to cook your beans for about another 1 1/2 low heat – COVERED.
- Your basically done… The beans should be tender, the broth a bit thick… Set aside serve and eat or store in the fridge–only in glass containers.