I went to the Farmers’ Market in the south Park Blocks on Wednesday May 1 to get a tamale for lunch. As I wondered through, I saw a stall selling beautiful dried beans. I picked up about a pound of the black beans and figured I’d find something to do with them. Carla has a friend at work who is Cuban and I guess Cuban food was on my mind. I searched the internet for a Cuban black bean recipe and found one that looked tasty on Cook’s Illustrated (you’ll need an account to see the full story). A copy of the recipe with notes can be found here.
The first step is to brine some beans overnight and boil them in a combination of chicken broth and water along with 1/2 an onion, 1/2 a green pepper, 1/2 a head garlic, a couple of bay leaves and a bit of salt. I’m using home made chicken stock that has very little salt. If you use canned, skip the salt
Bean cooking ingredients
Simmer the beans for 30 minutes
After simmering the beans for 30 minutes toss the onion, bell pepper, garlic and bay leaves; drain and reserve the bean broth (which tastes delicious on its own). Chop the remaining 1/2 onion and 1 1/2 bell peppers to make a sofrito. Push another bunch of garlic through a press.
Step 2 sauté aromatics.
Start with the salt pork
Sauté 6 ounces of chopped salt pork.
After cooking the salt pork for about 10 minutes on medium (so as to not let it burn), pull out the salt pork with a slotted spoon but leave the fat. Add the sofrito and cook for another 10 or so minutes. Then sauté the garlic and some additional herbs until they become fragrant. Add the the rice and stir to coat. Add the beans, reserved broth, reserved salt pork bits, and a bit of red wine vinegar for brightness. Put in the oven at cook for 30 minutes
Ready for the oven
Ready to serve
This was flat out delicious. I use a 5 star rating system and I don’t give 5 stars out very easily. This dish earned all five.