Frijoles Negros

Sundays are for make ahead meals. This requires a little bit of organization, as in planning and shopping for the week but I usually make a couple of things that will last in the fridge and that I can use in different ways. I had some dry black beans in the cupboard and decided to put them to use. Nothing is simpler, and more aromatic than a pot of black beans on the stove. Sometimes to get in the spirit we’ll cook and play music that matches the region of cuisine. This past weekend called for Buena Vista Social Club and in a snap we were in Cuba (I urge you to click that link and be transported yourself.)

Black Beans. We love ’em around here. Beside the taste value, you can’t beat the economics — with one pot of beans I can literally get 4 or five different meals, as in with rice, on tortillas, in salads or as the star in black bean burgers and soup. They also freeze really well. When my child refuses to eat chicken or fish, beans are a great way to get protein and fiber into her diet without a fuss.

Cuban Black Beans

1 lb of black beans
1 large spanish onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for finishing)
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Low-fat sour cream
Chopped cilantro

Cover dry beans with water and let stand covered overnight. Drain and discard water.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute the onion and peppers. When the onions are translucent add the beans, cumin, bay leaves, oregano, garlic and cover with water by about an inch. Do not be tempted to add salt at this stage. Cooking beans with salt will make them tough. Trust me, I’ve learned this lesson!

Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until tender, about an hour and 1/2. Add vinegar, then salt and pepper to taste. Top with cilantro and sour cream, if you’re feeling wild and crazy raw onion will give it a nice kick as well.

Disclaimer: You won’t get beans on tortillas or with sour cream in Cuba, so for the purists out there you can omit!

Adios amigos. Have a fantastic day!

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