A few years ago I began teaching Mexican cooking classes at the local kitchen store. I also became very interested in learning some of the most popular dishes of Latin America. Besides Mexican food, Puerto Rican and Cuban food are also some of my favorites. The recipes are similar in ingredients when it comes to all three cuisines, with a few differences. Unlike many Mexican dishes, Cuban and Puerto Rican recipes will almost never include chile peppers in their ingredients. For a while, I just could not get passed the idea of cooking without any chile peppers, lol! But, for a few years now, I often prepare meals and donate them to friends in need or groups of volunteers that help with local community projects. And for those recipes, I have learned to scale way back on the chile peppers. It’s just my way of trying to help when I can and volunteer my time. As many of you know, I have been blessed with my dream job of working from home, cooking and developing recipes I love for the Hispanic Kitchen site. It has been the most rewarding experience and continues to be a great blessing in my life. It’s the Hispanic Kitchen that inspired me to step outside my Mexican comfort zone and try my hand at a few popular Cuban dishes. My friend Norma Torres, who is an awesome chef, blogger and recipe developer for Hispanic Kitchen as well prepares these most delicious Puerto Rican and Cuban recipes.
The Hispanic Kitchen site literally have thousands of delicious recipes posted from all over Latin America, Spain and the Caribbean. Foods from Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia are all equally delicious and ere definitely on my “To Try” list! For today’s post I am starting out with a quick and simple recipe for black beans. I prepared my first recipe for Ropa Vieja,(you can find recipe on my blog) which is a popular Cuban beef dish and is typically served with black beans and rice. And after spending all that time preparing the Ropa Vieja, I wanted a quick, but flavorful pot of black beans to serve with dinner that night.
Pulling ingredients I had available in my pantry and refrigerator, the Goya Jamon seasoning gives the beans a subtle flavor of smokiness. And the Knorr Sazon with garlic, onion, cilantro and achiote is great for any rice, bean or meat dishes. I keep them in my pantry at all times along with my regular spices. A quick and fresh version of sofrito is as easy as tomato, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic and onion. Freshly made is always the better option.
Quick Cuban Style Black Beans
2 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped plus more for garnish
1/2 jalapeño, seeded. Here I go with the chile pepper!
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white or Spanish onion, diced
15 ounce can black beans in it’s broth
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Goya Jamon season packet
1 Knorr Sazon with achiote, garlic, onion and cilantro season packet
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste
*This recipe will have more broth than usual
1. In the blender, combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapeño (if using), 2 tablespoons olive oil half of garlic and half of onion. Pulse to blend until fairly smooth. I prefer to not add salt at this time since the season packets both contain some salt.
2. In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. Add the remaining garlic and onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the sofrito tomato mixture from the blender to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Taste for salt, cumin and pepper and season to taste. Remove from heat, garnish with some fresh cilantro and ladle beans with broth over rice. Yields 4 servings.
You can find the recipe for Ropa Vieja and Homemade Tortilla Chips-Totopos right here on my blog site. Just type it into the search bar or search under catergories.
Black Beans Prepared In The Pressure. Thanks to one of my favorite Chef’s Tyler Florence, I finally decided to take the plunge and cook a batch of black beans in my pressure cooker. It seemed simple enough. With a few “La Piña” touches added to the recipe I was on my way!
Grapeseed or Olive oil
1/2 cup diced white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound black beans, rinsed
1 packet Goya Jamon seasoning
1/3 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups water
*5 quart pressure cooker
1. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pressure cooker pot. Heat to medium, add onions, garlic, serrano, bay leaves and cumin seeds. Saute for 4 to 6 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Then right before you cook, add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the beans. The oil prevents the beans from foaming up and clogging the valve. Very important that you don’t skip that step. Follow safety instructions that come with the pressure cooker. Lock lid, heat to medium/high until safety valve seals and locks. When the pressure valve begins to spin or release steam at high pressure, turn heat to medium/low and set your timer for 32 minutes. after about 20 minutes, I turned the heat up slightly to finish cooking. Gently remove from heat. Once lock and seals opens and releases, them remove the lid.