Recipes Cuban Rice and Beans
Memories of Cuban Rice and Beans….
I first tasted Cuban Rice and Beans at a Loteria gathering in San Francisco. Harry invited members to his house to check out his photo albums – memories and masterpieces collected over the last few decades. Harry’s in his late 40s and one would figure it was time for him to take out a ridiculous mortgage, settle into a house and live a conventional lifestyle. I’m happy to see he’s snubbing convention and the overrated SF housing market in favor of his Loteria lifestyle.
We introduced Harry to boilermakers. Our potluck contribution consisted of a six pack of Sierra Nevada and a bottle of whiskey. We poured out the beer into glasses and dropped-in a glass shot full of whiskey. Harry whipped out his Canon and shot the foam shooting over the glass brim.
Next to our alcoholic alchemy project, someone’s potluck offering simmered on the stove.
The broth blew out this earthy aroma through the kitchen, teasing my nose with meaty and herby tones.
The rice slowly cooked with the beans, sauteed onions, peppers and spice. Besides my dad’s chicken adobo and pot roast, I wasn’t familiar with the slow cooking process. On this night of nostalgia, I began to understand the magic of taking a few hours to let fresh ingredients mix in a hot pot.
As people flipped through pictures of speakeasy revivals, billboard liberations, wave organ performances, hiking trips through Nob Hill and other urban adventures, I kept my eye on the cook hovering over her baby….occasionally stirring the rice through the broth and digging at any pieces sticking to the bottom.
She sauteed the sausage in a separate pan to keep the peace between carnivores and plant eaters. It’s still San Francisco, home for the tolerant meal makers.
My first taste – a bite of earthy heaven. A medley of strong spice flavors flowing over the black beans.
I’m living in the Kansas now and it’s snowing. This dish is best served on cold days like this – to warm anyone up with hearty flavors and memories of warmer days.
An Filipino-American’s take on Cuban Rice and Beans
1 cup of canned black beans
1 bell pepper (sliced up)
1 onion, small (chopped up)
1 clove of garlic (chopped up)
2 tsp of olive oil
1 tsp of cumin
2 1/2 cups of white rice
4 cups of Vegetable or Chicken Broth
A pinch of fresh cilantro
Smoked sausages (optional. I like adding 6 tiny smoked sausages, chopped up. However, you could go veggie on this meal and leave out the sausages.)
In a large pan, heat up the olive oil. Add the rice, garlic and onion and saute until golden.
Then add one cup of broth, slowly expect some major steaming action here. Cook until liquid is reduced to rice level.
Rinse and drain beans.
Add beans, bell pepper, cumin and the rest of the broth. Bring it up to a boil.
Once it hits the boiling point, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the smoked sausage and simmer for another 10 minutes.
It’s finished when most of the broth has been reduced.
When you’re ready to serve it, sprinkle fresh cilantro on top.