Delicious Cuban Black Beans in Five Easy Steps
Spicing up your family's dinner with a little Cuban flare is easy. Black beans, the tried and true quintessential side dish to any authentic Cuban meal, does not have to take hours in the kitchen, with abuelita (grandma in Spanish) to achieve and delight. With five easy steps, your entire family will be doing the black beans dance and asking for more.
Step one - Beans
The beans! Yes, you could drag out a dusty bag of dried black beans you have had in the pantry and soak overnight, but have no fear, cans of beans will work just fine here. Crack open two cans of your favorite plain black beans and pour in the pot. Take one of your cans and fill with water. Pour the can of water into your pot. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to medium so that you still have a slow boil.
Step Two - Dry Spices
Add to your pot a tablespoon of cumin, sugar, oregano, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
Step Three - Vegetables (two options)
If you feel up to the chopping task and the extra five minutes, chop up one medium onion and one green pepper. Drop those in a separate frying pan and sauté for five minutes with a little olive oil. Drop the cooked onions and peppers into your pot and mix well. If you are pressed for time, skip this whole step by simply adding a tablespoon of dry onion powder and some chopped up jarred roasted red peppers directly into your bean pot.
Step Four - Secret Ingredients
So, by now you should be about ten minutes into what could be a 24 hour process to delicious Cuban black beans. Now, in this step is where you make it your own with two secret ingredients. One, add balsamic vinegar to taste. For two cans of beans I'd say about one tablespoon, but if you like them a little more tangy, add more. Second, if you happen to have an open wine bottle sitting around, pour a bit into the pot as well, again to taste, about two table spoons. Lastly, add a tablespoon of olive oil.
Step Five - The Thickness Finishing Touch
By now all of your ingredients are in the pot and the kitchen should be smelling like an authentic Cuban restaurant. The last trick to Cuban black beams is in the thickness of the soup itself. Most folks think flour when thickening just about anything, but in the case of Cuban beans, the thickening is in the beans itself. Simply take a mash potato hand masher and mash up some of the beans in the pot. The more you mash the thicker the bean soup will come out. If you happen to over-mash, simply add a bit of water to balance them back out. From my Cuban kitchen to yours, buen provecho (bon appetite)!
© 2017 Rene Febres