Friday, March 5, 2010

Black Beans and/or Cuban Sofrito

Black Beans and/or Cuban Sofrito
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 3-4 hours
Yield: 1.5 quart

1 lb. dried black beans
16 strips turkey bacon (optional)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
5 ½ cups water (4 ½ in a slow cooker)
2 chipotle peppers, whole, no need to wash off adobo sauce, if any (substitute w/ other chilis, or green/red bell peppers)
2 bay leaves
1½ tsp salt

Pick through beans, discarding all non-bean material and any beans that are broken or strange looking
Rinse beans and add to the pot
Fill with cold water to an inch above the beans, cover, and set aside for 5 hours
Drain beans
Pour in the water amount listed above
Turn heat to high
Rinse salt pork and add to pot
Add onion, chili or bell pepper, garlic, salt, and bay leaves
When boiling, reduce heat to low simmer and cover
Stir occasionally about 1½-2 hours, until the desired tenderness
Add water if needed
Remove the peppers and bacon
Remove 1 cup of beans & 1 cup of bean liquid and medium blend (until mostly liquid with small bits of bean)
Add mashed beans back into the pot
If desired, add sofrito (1/4 cup sofrito to 1 cup of beans)
Simmer uncovered for another 20 to 30 minutes until thickened to the desired consistency.
Serve over rice, next to rice, or by itself.

Cuban Sofrito
Yield: 2 cups
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green/red/yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1 t ground cumin
1 T dried oregano, crushed
1 red habanero chile, seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup canned tomato sauce or 3/8 cup (3 oz.) tomato paste mixed with equal amount of water
1 T lime juice
½ cup sherry

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion and pepper, and cook until onion is translucent.
Add the garlic, and saute until tender.
Add salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and bay leaves.
If using tomatoes, stir in and cook until all of the liquid is released, stirring frequently.
Gradually stir in the tomato sauce
Lower heat and cook a few more minutes, being careful to add sherry if mixture gets too dry
Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed
Thin the sauce down if necessary with rest of sherry (if more liquid needed use water)
Remove bay leaves and set aside
Pour into a high sided container and blend with immersion blender
Sauce is now done but can be cooked more, if desired, just put the bay leaves back in.
When finally taken off of the heat, add lime juice (taste before and after to verify if this helps)
Serve over meat, rice, beans, fish, or potatoes.

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