Beans and rice is a famous Cuban dish served in virtually every Cuban restaurant. The Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Native American Taino food, Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisines. The version of black beans and rice where the black beans are cooked separate from the rice is called Moros y Cristianos. The beans (Moors) and the rice (Christians) are joined together when you eat. Congri is an African influence where both the rice and beans are cooked together. Black beans are list on the World’s Healthiest Food website. Legumes are an outstanding source of protein and fiber good for the digestive tract, blood sugar and cardiovascular system. What is unique about black beans is that 1 cup contains 180 milligrams of the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. And it has an impressive array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and numerous studies have connected black bean intake with reduced risk of certain cancers, especially colon cancer.
- 12 ounces dried* black beans
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil**
- 2 red or green peppers, finely diced (yellow, orange or light green do not have the right taste)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
Rinse beans and put in a container. Cover with water and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. Let soak overnight. Drain water and rinse. Put beans in a crock pot. Sauté onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 10 minutes. Put into crock pot with beans. Add green peppers, 1/2 cup olive oil, bay leaves, oregano, pepper and 2 teaspoons salt. Add just enough water to cover (if you add too much the flavor of the beans will be watered down). Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until tender. These black beans are great served with roast chicken, with cornbread, as part of a Mexican meal, or à la carte topped with avocado, sweet white or red onions, sweet pepper and tomatoes.
*If you are able to get beans in the pods, you don’t need to soak them before you cook them. If you get fresh beans in bins at the farmer’s market, they may need to be soaked for an hour or two before cooking them.
**Trader Joe’s Trader Grotto’s Sicilian (cold pressed) Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a blend of three olives from Sicily, packaged in Italy in a beautiful bottle. It’s light and delicious. Store it in the dark and use up within a month.