Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Tonight is my rehearsal night for I Cantori, so I wanted a quick and easy dinner. I've got about half the pot of black bean soup sitting in the fridge, so I thought I would use some to make Cuban Black Beans and Rice. First, I got the rice cooking - I made our usual, "everyday" rice, which is one part of pasta sauteed in butter until toasted to two parts of rice to four parts of water. I normally use crumbled fideos or orzo for this, and margarine works just as well as butter. Once the rice was simmering away, I got to work on the black beans.

Cuban Black Beans (Moros y Christians)

1 large onion, halved and then sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red or green pepper, halved and then sliced
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
1/4 C dry sherry
2 pinches cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
cayenne to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp)
salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp)
2 C black bean soup

Over med-hi heat, saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil (what else?), add the garlic, then the green pepper. Add the oregano, cinnamon, cumin, about 1/2 tsp salt and a few pinches of cayenne. Saute all together until onions are translucent. Pour in the sherry, and keep sauteing until the sherry is absorbed. Add the black bean soup, stir well, and then heat through. Let simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors meld while waiting for the rice to cook. When the rice is ready, taste the black beans for salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings.

This is a very simple, quick and easy dinner, and its delicious too. It can be garnished with chopped onions, pickled jalapenos, or chopped cilantro.

Notes: I used leftover black bean soup, but you could use canned plain black beans and double the spices, and add more sherry and some water till its the right consistency. Or, you could use a 16 oz or larger can of black bean soup. I used half a red pepper and half a green pepper, because that's what I had. The flavor of the sherry and the peppers are important to this dish, and there should be enough just cayenne that there is a bit of a "tang" to the dish. It should not be really hot.

Total time: however long it takes to cook your rice - mine is done in 20 minutes.

Serves four, when served with rice

Four stars!

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