Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cuban black beans (or pinto beans)

A couple weeks ago I asked what else to do with ham hocks besides ham and beans and Mom gave me a recipe for Cuban Black Beans. The Hubs is not crazy about black beans, so I substituted pinto beans. This makes the soup more monotone, but still flavorful.

Jack's Cuban Black Beans (Mom- any idea who Jack is?)

2 c dried black or pinto beans, sorted and rinsed (I soaked mine overnight)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 bay leaves
14.5 oz can tomatoes (I used a pint of home-canned tomatoes from last summer)
4 c water (more if needed)
4 tsp cumin (yes you read that right, 4)
4 oz can chopped chiles
1 tsp salt
1 ham hock, most of the fat removed and diced
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano

This recipe was meant for the crockpot, but I didn't realize that until I had already started throwing items into a stockpot. If made in a crockpot, fry the veggies and ham hock in a couple tablespoons of oil to soften and brown before putting in the crockpot. Then cook on high for 6 hours.

Here's my version:
Put the bell pepper, onion, garlic and celery in a stock pot with some oil and cook until tender.

Dice the ham.

 Check out all those spices! Add them with the ham, tomato, chiles, and water (everything else on the list).

Cover and simmer. I simmered for over and hour last night and the beans weren't done. Tonight, I put the soup back on for another hour or so.

Enjoying with a dollup of sour cream.

Next time:
1. Use black beans.
2. Not only soak the beans overnight, but cook them prior to making the soup.

Update from the garden today:
5.5 oz strawberries, bringing the total for the year to 32.5 oz.

I rode 3.5 miles today in 24 minutes. Hopefully this weekend I'll have the time/good weather to ride to work and then start riding to work a couple times a week. Sweetness!

What I ate for lunch today: salad of mixed greens/spinach from the garden with leftover stuffed mushrooms, olives, feta cheese, olive oil, salt & pepper and oregano. Amazing!

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