(photo from foodnetwork.com)
10 years ago:
Then she discovered Black Beans in a can...already precooked and ready to be seasoned. This was an huge improvement...and time-saver (and nose saver!). When she had to make the GALLONS of beans for our Christmas family reunion, she would use these canned beans to prepare small batches and freeze them, beginning at the first of December. That was so much easier and they tasted just as good.
7 years ago:
Then along comes, Jane...always looking for ways to streamline kitchen time. Because of a kitchen disaster when company was coming for a Cuban meal (I BURNED the beans), I ran to the local Italian/Spanish grocery and grabbed a few cans of El Ebro Black Beans / Cuban Style. These beans were a life-saver!!! All I did was open the cans and add a little onion, tomato, and green pepper, which had been sweat in olive oil. And no one but MacDaddy knew the difference. Now these are the beans of choice when I need to make them.
Mom, the provider of the Black Beans for our Christmas feast, is having trouble remembering things like "how much" is needed for a crowd (not to mention who her kids are), but she still wanted to make the beans. Big Brother helped her with this chore and made enough for about 30 servings. I brought the rest...El Ebro, of course, still in the cans, to add as needed to the pot. (The crowd ate another 10 cans worth.) Nobody noticed the difference.
5 days later:
My sister stopped at the Italian/Spanish grocery to get a few things to take back to Mt. Dora with her. Among her items were several cans of El Ebro Black Beans. The market owner's wife was at the check-out counter and told my sister that these cans were all she now used...she just added a little Sofrito (you can find this in the Ethnic food aisles or the freezer of many stores, at Caribbean markets, Hispanic markets, online or you can try the recipe below...
So...if you want some really good Frijoles Negros (black beans), you can make them from scratch using Mom's (before canned) "recipe":
Grandma DelValle's Frijoles Negros
Soak 1 bag of black beans, overnight. Rinse and drain them. Remove any gravel. Put in a large pot or salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the beans are tender. In a frying pan, pour a little olive oil and heat it. Add 1 medium onion, chopped; 1 bell (green) pepper, chopped; 3-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped; mince 3-4 garlic cloves and add to oil. Cook these until the onion is translucent, the pepper is soft, and the tomatoes are cooked. Add to the beans. Season the beans to taste with salt, pepper, (cilantro, if desired) and a little parsley. Add a little splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir and simmer until the beans are very tender. Mash some of the beans with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer until thickened. Serve with rice (white or yellow) and chopped onions.
Or you can try Bobby Flay's recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/throwdown-with-bobby-flay/black-beans-frijoles-negros-recipe/index.html
Or, if you are like me...get a can or two of El Ebro Black Beans /Cuban Style, add Sofrito and your guests will never know...if you throw out the trash.
You can find the recipe for Chicken Salteado in my February 2010 archives. It's simple, quick and delicious!!!
Sofrito Recipe from Daisy Martinez:
2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks
3 to 4 Italian frying peppers or cubanelle peppers
16 to 20 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large bunch cilantro, washed
7 to 10 ajices dulces (see note below), optional
4 leaves of culantro (see note below), or another handful cilantro
3 to 4 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into large chunks
Makes about 4 cups
Chop the onion and cubanelle or Italian peppers in the work bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time and process until smooth. The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It also freezes beautifully.
If you can’t find ajices dulces or culantro, don’t sweat. Up the amount of cilantro to 1 1l2 bunches.
I am joining...albeit late...Foodie Friday at http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com Visit all the other "foodies" for some great recipes...
Have a great weekend -Jane