Today I’m sharing with you one of my all-time favorite dishes. You see, I grew up in South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale to be exact), and I loved it when we went out to eat at a little Cuban restaurant near our home. I think every time we went there I ordered the same thing—roasted chicken, black beans and rice, and plantains.
Last month I had the chance to go back to Florida on vacation and visit my family. Although they’ve moved from Ft. Lauderdale, we all still went to a little, family owned Cuban restaurant, and I ordered the same thing. Boy did I love it. Especially the black beans!
Now I don’t claim to make authentic Cuban black beans and rice. But over the years I do think I’ve come up with a delicious and easy homemade version of Black Beans and Rice that’s inspired by my childhood memories of eating Cuban food with my family. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do!
And stay tuned. In my next post I’ll be sharing how to make the yummiest side dish to go with my Black Beans and Rice … Sweet Fried Plantains.
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and reserve juice
- 1 can diced tomatoes, not drained (14.5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons oil (olive or avocado oil)
- 1½ cups onion, diced
- 1 cup diced bell pepper (I usually use a 50/50 mix of green and red bell peppers)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
- hot pepper sauce of your choice
- 6 cups of prepared foolproof brown rice
- lime wedges
- green onions
- diced mango
- sour cream
- In a 6-quart pot warm oil over medium heat and cook onion until it starts to soften and become translucent. Add garlic and bell peppers. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, black beans, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook for 4 minutes. Add vinegar and reserved juices from beans. Cook for another 5-10 minutes then season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.
- Remove bay leaves. Serve over brown rice and garnish as desired.
If using dried black beans, prepare first and make enough for 3⅓ total cups.
If you prefer fresh tomatoes use about 1½ cups, diced.
For seasoning I use about 1 teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon pepper, and 1-2 teaspoons of hot pepper sauce.
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- A great garlic press makes child’s play of mincing garlic. I love this top-rated one but there are lots of great alternatives out there at all sorts of kitchen, department, and discount stores.
- Looking for a solid set of pans that doesn’t cost a fortune? I’ve been making Black Beans and Rice in these Farberware pans for 20+ years, and they still look great!
- A high quality set of cutting knives can make a huge difference, especially when you’re cooking REAL food. My local knife shop advised me to invest in the higher quality Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature brand (much higher quality than the J.A. Henckels International brand) and time has proven them right. (To make sure you know which Henckels knives are better, here’s a tip — look for the “twins” on the knives vs. the single guy sporting the trident.) While you can buy these knives online, if you’ve got a local knife/cutlery store, support them instead. I love my local cutlery store and bring my knives in every six months or so to get them maintained with a nice, sharp edge!
- A great, non-slip cutting board is an invaluable kitchen asset when cutting up the vegetables. I upgraded to these Epicurean non-slip boards a year or so ago, and I’ve been really pleased with them.