This is a real start from scratch hands on dish so be sure to plan well in advance. Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand the day before; starting in the late morning is a good idea. The house will be filled with wonderful warm smells all days long and soon the neighbors will come over wanting to know when will dinner be ready?
- 1 lb Black Beans
8 Cups of Water
2/3 Cup Olive Oil*
2 Medium Onions, chopped
1 Large Green Bell Pepper, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons White Distilled Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dry White wine
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
Oops! Forgot to put them to soak? That's okay you can still parboil them.
Cover the beans with cold water and bring to a rolling boil for two minutes. Remove them from the heat and let them soak for an hour.
Drain the beans, put them in a large pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil reduce the heat and simmer gently about 60-90 minutes, or until tender. Stir them carefully to avoid breaking the skins. Taste for salt.
While the beans are simmering, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté until the veggies begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Remove one cup of beans with a slotted spoon and mash them with a fork. (a hand held potato masher works even better). Add these freshly mashed beans to the skillet full of delicious smelling vegetable. Stir this coarse paste into the pot of beans as a thickener.
Add the white wine, vinegar, oregano, black pepper and bay leaf. Simmer until the beans are tender, about 60 minutes, and mixture is thick, stirring often.
For a family style flair you can serve the beans on a large platter with a ring of rice around them. This dish goes well with fresh pineapple, grilled squash and bollito bread. Bollito bread is native to the southwest, but try any crusty bread such as French or Italian as a nice substitute.
You may be wondering why this is called "Cuban" and that's a good question. In many cases, it's the combination of spices that connects a dish to a particular culture or part of the world. Add tomatoes you have Italian, take away the oregano and bay leaf and add tomato it's Tex Mex. Add tomato, substitute green bell peppers with chili peppers and the oregano with cilantro don't add bay leaf it's a southwestern dish.
Savor the flavor! The combination of garlic onion, bell peppers and above all the addition of oregano along with bay leaf makes this Cuban. The transformation of aroma is quite remarkable when these last two spices are added! That's about the time your neighbors show up.
*If you're interested in reducing the amount of fat calories you can reduce the amount of olive oil to 2 tablespoons and sauté the veggies in a non-stick skillet.