04 December 2011

Cuban Black Beans & Rice (GF)

Rice and beans is rather a staple in the vegetarian pantry.  That's the stereotype, at least.  There are so many variations of this dish; some of them are wonderful and some of them are kind of...meh.  This one is sometimes called Moros y Cristianos, and let me tell you something:  Cubans take their black beans very seriously.  Moros y Cristianos is never meh.

You will need to get yourself a big pot and the following (optional ingredients are listed in parenthesis):
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil (you can reduce this by a lot, but I would not omit it entirely—your spices will really bloom with just a little oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 jalapeño (or a different kind of hot pepper or some red chili flakes, etc.  Please note that hot sauce is not a substitute for fresh or dried pepper.)
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cups (or more) cooked black beans (drained)
  • ~2 cups water or stock (depends on what kind of rice you are using)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (any sort you'd like -- I used malt vinegar)
  • salt & black pepper to taste 
  • (lime juice or lime wedges)
  • (chopped fresh cilantro or parsley)
Fry the onion (and bell pepper) in the olive oil until it starts to turn clear.  Then add the garlic, cumin, and jalapeño, stirring everything gently until fragrant.  Stir in tomato paste, then add the rice and stir it up until all the grains are coated.  Add the black beans, water or stock, bay leaf, vinegar, salt, and black pepper.  Give everything a good stir, put the lid on the pot, and let everything simmer until the rice is cooked.  Remove from heat.  Stir in your lime juice and fresh cilantro or parsley (if using) just before serving.  (Garnish with lime wedges.)

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