Cuban Black Beans
- 1 bell pepper, green; diced
- 4 cloves cloves, peeled
- 8 ounces black beans, dried; rinsed and soaked overnight
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and diced (use smoked tempeh bacon for vegetarian option)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt, to taste
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1/2 onion, Spanish; diced
- 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
- 1/4 tsp cumin, ground
- 1/2 tsp pepper, black; freshly ground
- 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar, turbinado or other brown
- Fill 1 large pot with 1 quart of water. Add half the diced green pepper and 2 cloves of the garlic, smashed, the beans and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer until the beans are tender, an hour or more.
- Meanwhile, make the sofrito. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining green pepper and onion and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
- Chop the garlic, and add to the sofrito, along with the oregano, cumin and black pepper. Stir for another minute. Pour in the vinegar and scrape any browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.
- When the beans are cooked, discard the bay leaf. Transfer 1 cup of beans to a blender, and blend them into a paste. Return to the pot. Add the sofrito, then the sugar.
- Stir the beans well and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so, skimming any foam from the top. Taste for salt.
- Serve with white rice and fried sweet plantains.