Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Very Best Black Beans and Rice

I know that calling the recipe I'm about to share with you "the very best black beans and rice" is a bit hochmut of me, but it's true. What makes this bean dish so incredibly delicious is the "mojo" you ladle over the top (read on for that part). So, without further ado, I'll tell you how it's done:

Put some black beans on to simmer to which you've added a bit of olive oil and water to cover. I usually throw in a piece of pork or beef (either leftover or not; if I use raw meat I brown the pieces first in the olive oil before throwing in the beans), but it's just as good with no meat. You can use broth to flavor the beans if that sounds good, but I just use water.

Cook the beans for hours...as much as 5 - 8 hours is fine because you want them to cook up thick. I usually don't have that much time, so I'm more liable to cook them for about 3 hours. Suit yourself. Cook's choice! Add water or broth as needed. Don't add salt or pepper until near the end of the cooking time.

When the beans are getting near to being done, cook up some rice. While the rice is cooking, make:


In a saute pan, cook in olive oil (don't be stingy with the oil) minced garlic, chopped onion, and diced tomato. Saute the mixture long enough for the flavors to release and soak into the oil. Then add them to the cooking beans. There's really no right time to add the sofrito. I've done it at the beginning, and then sometimes I've just cooked my beans plain and instead simply topped my serving of beans with it. Any way is okay.

Next you're going to make the piece de resistance:


In a jar with a tight fitting lid (because you'll be shaking things up) add:

half orange juice, half lemon juice (I usually make about a pint's worth)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cumin
twice as much basil as you used for the cumin
twice as much oregano as you used for the cumin
lots of minced garlic

Unless the mojo has sat in the fridge for a day or so, the herbs--even with vigorous shaking--will tend to separate quickly and sit on top of the juices. If this happens simply mix with a spoon and scoop a spoonful out at a time.

Into your individual bowls goes first the rice, then the beans/sofrito mixture, and topped off with the mojo. I usually use about 4 tablespoons for my serving because I love the stuff, but you may want to be a bit conservative until you decide how much is right for you.

Now for the photos:

Here's the sofrito with the meat cooking:

And here's my bowl of black beans and rice right before chowing down:

Oh my goodness these are tasty! I hope you try them, and I hope you love them as much as I do. Beans are economical, filling, and nutritious, and it's my personal opinion that people these days don't eat enough beans. If you're one of those, I may just change your mind with this recipe.

Blessings to you and yours!

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