Cuban Black Beans (vegan, gluten free, sugar free, nut free, grain free)

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When my family started transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle, one of my first go-to meals was black beans and brown rice. Both are easy to doctor up to your taste preference, very budget friendly, and easy to prepare a head of time. This particular recipe was introduced to me by a coworker who has been using it for years. For so long, in fact, that she couldn't tell me where it originated from. So, to whoever created this recipe, I deeply thank you, because as soon as I made them, I knew I could never go back to canned black beans.  The Cuban black beans are so flavorful and hearty and the aroma is that of a true comfort food. My daughter, husband, guest, neighbors, and anyone else I have ever fed this recipe to spends the entire meal going "Mmmmmmm".

This recipe is a bit of a labor of love, as it is certainly not quick. However, it is the perfect rainy Sunday afternoon project that can easily be frozen for easy future meals. The key to a good Cuban black bean (says the girl who doesn't have a speck of Cuban in her family tree) is to let them rest overnight. I find this with almost all recipes that involve cooking a dry bean, but it is especially true for this one.   My rule of thumb is that beans always, always taste better on day #2, also making this the perfect "prepare ahead" dish.

 

Makes about 12 cups

-1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed

-1 green bell pepper, quartered lengthewise

-2 bay leaves

-1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil but the recipe suggest olive) 

-1 red bell pepper, minced

-1 yellow bell pepper, minced

-1 green bell pepper, minced

-1 large white onion, minced

-1 tablespoon ground cumin

-1 tablespoon oregeno

-1 head of garlic, peeled and minced  

-1/4 cup tomato paste

-Salt to taste

 

1. Put the black bean, quartered green pepper, and bay leaves in a large sauce pan and add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn down to low and cover. Stirring occasionally, cook for about 2 1/2 hours. Once cooked, remove and throw away green pepper pieces and bay leaves. 

2. While the beans cook, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the minced bell peppers and onion. Cook over medium heat until soft and translucent. Stir in cumin and oregeno. 

3. In a small sauce pan, cook the minced garlic in the remaining oil over medium-low heat unti golden brown. 

4. Once the beans are tender, add the sautéed pepper/onion mixture, the garlic and all the oil in it and the tomato paste. Season with salt and simmer for 5 more minutes.

5. Once cooled, cover and refrigeratefor up to 3 days or store in freezer for up to 2 months.