If there is one thing David misses about Miami, it’s the abundance of Cuban fast food restaurants. I have also given in to their deliciousness. Flavorful chicken, black beans, rice, and plantains sometimes even find their way into our suitcases and back to DC. To celebrate summer freedom, I tried to recreate the meal at home. And these black beans are worth smuggling over state lines. We ate them as part of our Cuban feast, in breakfast burritos, in dinner burritos, griddled in quesadillas, and by the spoonful. Make a large pot of these beans and smile. Any leftovers freeze nicely to fight future bouts of comfort food nostalgia.
Our Cuban dinner turned out to be such a feast, that this is my first two-part blog post! I’ll share the black bean recipe today and tell you about the rest of the meal later in the week.
The night before you want to cook these beans, soak 1 pound of black beans in a generous amount of water. When you wake up the next morning, drain the black beans. They will have swollen in size, but they will still be very hard.
Dice 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, and 2 carrots, and mince 2 garlic cloves. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large, heavy pot, and then add the vegetables. Once they have softened, add in 1.25 teaspoons of ground cumin, and stir it around until the cumin becomes fragrant.
To the pot, add the black beans, 8 cups of chicken stock, and 1 bay leaf. Rip the leaves off of a small bunch of cilantro, and tie the stems together with kitchen twine. Drop the stems into the black beans. Bring the beans to a boil, and then lower the heat until they simmer.
Partially cover the pot of beans with a lid, and then let it simmer for approximately 1.5 hours until the beans are tender and the liquid has reduced. Season the beans with salt and pepper to taste. Then, melt in 1 tablespoon of butter for a necessary amount of savory richness.
Serve the black beans over rice (recipe to follow) with the cilantro leaves and some diced tomatoes. These beans would be great to feed to a crowd, but it is also perfectly acceptable to hoard them all to yourself. Adios!
- Dried black beans- 1 pound
- Chicken stock- 8 cups
- Onion- 1
- Celery- 2 stalks
- Carrots- 2
- Garlic- 2 cloves
- Cumin- 1.25 teaspoons
- Bay leaf- 1
- Cilantro- 1 small bunch
- Vegetable oil- 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper
- Butter- 1 tablespoon