I love a good side dish. Sometimes I even love sides more than the main dish. Since I am a fish/chicken/tofu kind of girl and Q is a red meat/pork kind of guy, we sometimes have different proteins and the same sides with dinner. These Cuban Black Beans & Rice are one of those side dishes that could easily work for me (chicken) and Q (pork).
Q and I menu plan on Sundays, go grocery shopping later that day and then I ‘m in charge of prepping and starting dinner before Q gets home each night. I usually read through my recipes around 4:30 and prep begins at 5ish. Last Wednesday I looked at my recipe at 4:30 like usual and realized “WHOOPS I didn’t soak my black beans for 8 hours like I was supposed to and we are supposed to eat in an hour…” So we moved this dish to Thursday instead. This is just a little warning if you do plan on doing this dish that it takes a little advanced notice (you can even soak your beans overnight) or you also do a quick-salt-soak of the beans if you are in a hurry (this process takes an hour). For the quick-salt-soak, combine 2 quarts water, the beans, and 1 1/2 tablespoons salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and let stand for an hour. Drain and rinse well. The 8-hour soaking method is in the recipe below.
And I’ll be doing a post on Q’s famous pan-roasted chicken as soon as I can sit down with him and nail down the recipe. It’s the best chicken I’ve ever eaten without a doubt!
Cuban Black Beans & Rice
This dish is hearty, a little spicy and full of flavor. I used the leftovers in a taco the next day and it was just as delicious as when we first made them. The process is a little time intensive, but totally worth it.
- 1/3 cup dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 small green bell better, stemmed, seeded and halved (1 half left in tact and 1 half chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)
- 1 large shallot, peeled and halved (1 half left in tact and 1 half chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)
- 5 garlic cloves (2 unpeeled and whole, 3 minced)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 scallion, sliced thin
- Lime wedges for serving
- Dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons salt in 2 quarts cold water in a large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at leaset 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- In an ovensafe medium saucepan with tight-fitting lid, stir together dried beans, water, 1 half green pepper (in tact), 1 shallot half (in tact), 2 whole garlic cloves, bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until beans are just soft, 35 to 45 minutes. Using tongs, remove pepper, shallot, garlic and bay leaf. Drain beans in colander set over large bowl, reserving 1 1/4 cups bean cooking liquid. (If you don’t have enough bean cooking liquid, add water to equal 1 1/4 cups).
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. In now-empty saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Stir in chopped pepper, chopped shallot, oregano and cumin. Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add minced garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and stir to coat, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in beans, reserved bean cooking liquid, red wine 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 sit, uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve with scallions and lime wedges.
Adapted from Cooking for Two 2012 (America’s Test Kitchen)