Cuban-Inspired Black Beans and Rice

This dish has come to be known as a regional standard in Florida due to the popularization of black beans by the Cuban-American community. Once you have your cooked beans on hand, this preparation requires a minimum of effort.

Serve: 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked black beans (from about 1 2/3 cups raw),
    or two 15-to 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A few grains of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water or cooking liquid from beans
  • Hot cooked brown rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped, for optional garnish

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until they over medium-low heat until it is translucent. Add the bell pepper and garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.

Add the beans, vinegar, and seasonings (be generous with the black pepper) along with the water or cooking liquid. Simmer over very low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.

With the back of a wooden spoon or a mashing implement, mash about 1/2 cup of the beans in the skillet, or enough to thicken the base. Make sure there is enough liquid to keep everything nice and moist but not soupy. Simmer for 5 minutes longer.    

Serve the black beans over or side by side with a bed of cooked rice, topping each serving with a sprinkling of the chopped raw onion, if desired.

Variation: Other optional garnishes for this dish can include cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, and/or lime wedges.

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