Sunday, November 29, 2009

Frijoles Negros de Reinaldo (Black Beans)




Remember our MVP teacher Miriam? Well this time our teacher is a relative of her’s – Reinaldo is her daughter’s godfather. And he is also the family’s master chef. Reinaldo is the genius behind the magic that are the family’s holiday meals.

We got together at Miriam’s house – she recently renovated her kitchen so she enjoys having people over - a few weeks ago and Reinaldo taught us how to make two staples of Cuban cooking in general and of the holidays specifically: Frijoles Negros (Black Beans) and Yuca con Mojo,(Cassava with Garlic Marinade). This time you get the black beans, we’ll publish the Yuca in time for Noche Buena.

As usual from the lesson Miriam made a lovely lunch, her sister Nora made a roast pork shoulder that was melt in your mouth delicious – we didn’t get the recipe because we didn’t know she was making it, but we will soon!

Ingredients:
7 cups of water
3 medium green peppers
1 large onion - peeled
10 large garlic cloves
28 oz. dry black beans – picked over for any foreign items
1 pack or cube of chicken bouillon – if using cubes, crush before adding
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp powdered bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
Salt to taste
7 oz. roasted red peppers
1 oz. good olive oil


Process

This recipe makes approximately 12 servings.

  • NOTE: This recipe was made using a pressure cooker. If not using a pressure cooker, follow the recipe but heat the mixture on high to boil and then lower to medium for approximately two hours or until it thickens. Check periodically to ensure beans are completely submerged.


  1. Soak beans in room temperature water for 8 hours. Put water and beans into pressure cooker.

  1. Core the green peppers and place whole garlic cloves inside one or two of them. Add to the pot.

  1. Add the whole onion to the pot.
  2. Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high until pressurized.
  3. Lower to medium and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
  4. Depressurize the pot. Remove onion, green peppers and garlic cloves.
  5. Place the onion, green peppers, garlic cloves, 1 pimento and pimento liquid in a blender or food processor. Add 2 serving spoons of the black bean mixture and liquefy.

  1. Taste the beans from the pot to determine if they are soft enough, if not continue cooking and checking until done.
  2. Add the liquefied mixture back to the pot. Set to Medium-Low.
  3. Add ½ cup of water (use your judgment here they may be thin enough), salt, cumin, bay leaf powder, oregano and bouillon. Taste for salt, season as needed.
  4. Add remaining pimentos and use the pimento can to add 7 oz of water (if needed because it’s been cooking down for a while).

  1. Boil on Low for 15 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in olive oil.
  2. Let the beans sit off the heat for about 30 minutes to continue thickening.

  • NOTE: To thicken the beans if they are too watery, liquefy a spoonful or two in the blender and add back into the pot. This will help thicken the soup.


Black beans are traditionally served with white rice, and they are integral to the traditional Noche Buena meal along side yuca and roast pork...



...but they also make a delicious soup on its own, garnished with sweet raw onions.



¡Buen provecho!



ingredient image source