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. The recipe that inspired what you are about to nom on was introduced to me by a coworker who has been making something similar for years. For so long, in fact, that she couldn't tell me where it originated from.  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.