This is a classic and ubiquitous side dish in Cuba and other Latin American countries. In chef David Guas's family, there was always a bowl of diced raw onion on the table to sprinkle over the tender beans as a crunchy counterpoint.
Servings: 8 - 10
- For the beans
- 1 pound dried black beans, picked over to remove any foreign matter
- 10 cups water
- 4-to-6-ounce ham bone or small smoked ham hock
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup chopped sweet onion, plus 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- For the rice
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups parboiled rice
Combine the beans, 6 cups of the water and the ham bone or ham hock in a container and refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours.
Transfer the contents of the container to a large pot and add the remaining 4 cups of water along with the garlic, onion and oregano. Heat over medium heat until the water is barely bubbling around the edges of the pot. Cook uncovered for 90 minutes, adjusting the heat to keep the liquid bubbling gently, then use the back of a wooden spoon to mash some of the beans against the side of the pot, releasing the starch and causing the mixture to thicken. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender.
Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a covered medium saucepan. Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the rice is cooked, 20 to 25 minutes.
To serve, divide the rice among individual plates and ladle the beans over the rice. Pass the 3/4 cup of onion at the table.
From David Guas, chef-owner of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington.
Tested by Tim Carman.
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