Wednesday, September 21, 2011

cuban black beans and rice

When I get my cooking magazines, I have a system.
I skim.
I flag.
Then, I put away.
About a week later, when I'm not chasing a toddler around, I revisit.
I really read the recipes and dog ear.
Not to be confused with flagging.
Then I try out the recipes and rate them and etc etc and put the magazine away again.
About a month or so down the road, I revisit again.
Usually something new will catch my eye and I leave the mag open to that page and leave it on my counter to try within that week.
This was one of those recipes.
Didn't really seem like much until I re-read it.
I was wrong.
This is probably my new favorite comfort food.
No. Joke.
You really have to try this.
I make it all. the. time.
And it freezes really well too!

Cuban Black Beans and Rice
Adapted ever so slightly from CI.
Serves 4-8.

1 cup dried black beans, rinsed and picked over (Goya is the best!)
2 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock
2 cups water
2 large green bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 large onion, halved at equator and peeled, root end left intact
1 head garlic, 5 medium cloves removed and minced (about 5 teaspoons), remaining cloves split in half and skin removed
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or a scant teaspoon dried
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 medium scallions, sliced thin (optional)
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges (optional)

Dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons salt in 2 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
In large Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid, stir together drained beans, broth, water, 1 pepper half, 1 onion half (with root end), halved garlic cloves, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until beans are just soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Using tongs, remove and discard pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Drain beans in colander set over large bowl, reserving 2 1/2 cups bean cooking liquid. (If you don’t have enough bean cooking liquid, add water to equal 2 1/2 cups.) Do not wash out Dutch oven.
Put your oven rack to middle position and set to 350*. Place rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1-2 minutes.
Remove all excess water; set rice aside.
Cut remaining peppers and onion into 2-inch pieces and process in food processor until broken into rough 1/4-inch pieces, about eight 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary; set vegetables aside.
In now-empty Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil and bacon over medium-low heat; cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and rendered, 15 to 20 minutes.  Be sure to scrape down the sides as you stir this to get the flavors to all meld together.  Add remaining tablespoon oil, chopped peppers and onion, oregano, and cumin. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat, about 30 seconds.
Stir in beans, reserved bean cooking liquid, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Fluff with fork and let rest, uncovered, 5 minutes. Serve, passing scallion and lime wedges separately, if desired.  Enjoy!




  1. Hey, I think I might like this. Could you squeeze it into the menu sometime? I'll chase the toddler for you...anonymom

  2. Made this for dinner tonight and it was delish! The kids gobbled it down too. I'm about to freeze whats left....what are your recommendations for reheating?

  3. I love this!! And it freezes very well....just defrost and reheat. You miiiiight have to add a bit of chicken stock to moisten it though!

  4. Do you do it on the stovetop or the oven for best results?

  5. Umm, honestly? I usually just do individual bowls in the microwave :( Don't judge! :) But, I did do it a couple times in a casserole dish and froze it before we even ate that case, I just defrosted, drizzled with about 1/2 cup of chicken stock, covered the whole thing with foil and stuck it in the oven for 20ish minutes on 350*. You'll have to see how dry it is though....might need more stock! Hope this helps!

  6. But, ya know, I bet if you dump it in a saucepan and add about a cup of chicken stock, you could heat it on medium low on the stove too!

  7. awesome...just wanted to know how the pro does it... :) I love a good freezer meal!

  8. I've made this twice now and LOVE it. Thanks for sharing!


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