FRIJOLES NEGROS (Caribbean black beans, for six)
1 pound (about 2-1/4 cups) dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
2 teaspoons salt
1 onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
1/3 cup finely chopped scallion
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander
- Either place the beans in a bowl with water to cover them by 2 inches and let them soak overnight, or “quick soak” them by bringing 5 quarts of water to a rapid boil in a large bean pot or saucepan, adding the beans, and cooking them for exactly 2 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the beans to soak, covered, for exactly one hour, then drain. Rinse under cold water and, if you are not going to proceed immediately, leave beans in cold water to cover until you are ready to use them.
- Drain the beans just before you are ready to proceed with the recipe. In a large, heavy saucepan simmer the beans in enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch, uncovered, adding more water as necessary to keep the beans barely covered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until they are tender. Add salt and simmer the beans for 5 minutes.
- While the beans are cooking, in a heavy skillet cook the onion, bell peppers, garlic and cumin in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Add the tomato paste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 2 minutes. When the beans are tender, stir in the vegetable mixture, the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until it is thickened to the desired consistency.
- The beans may be prepared up to this point 2 days in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated, adding additional water if necessary. Sprinkle with scallion and coriander before serving.
SERVE WITH: Baked halibut with salsa verde
adapted from The Best of Gourmet, 1994