Cuban Black Beans Cuca’s Way
1 # Black Beans
2 Quarts Water
1 ham hock
2 poblano chiles, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1” squares
2 habanero peppers cut in half (be sure to dig these and the bay leaves out later)
8 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon salt ( I use smoked sea salt)
2 bay leaves
6 slices thick cut bacon sliced into ½ inch pieces
2 red onions peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
½ Bell Pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into ¼ inch dice
Optional: Jalapeno or poblano peppers, stemmed and seeded, chopped.
½ cup of green olives sliced
Spice mix: Toast 2 Tablespoons Cumin Seeds, 2 Tablespoons Coriander Seeds and place in a spice mill, grinding till finely blended. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
1 cup dry sherry
¼ cup raw sugar
Prepare the beans:
- ·Place the beans in a large soup pot, cover with water and soak overnight.
- · Add the ham hock, pepper, garlic, salt and bay leaves to the pot with the beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. If any scum forms skim it off. Remove the habaneros & bay leaf.
Finishing the Beans:
- ·In a frying pan, heat the olive oil add the bacon till the fat is rendered and the bacon begins to caramelize (4-5 minutes.) Add onion and bell pepper. Stir until slightly softened. Then add the garlic, olives & spice mix. Continue stirring for another minute. Add the sherry and cook another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- ·Remove the meat from ham hock & add the meat to the beans. Discard the bone. Add the sofrito to the beans along with the sugar. Stir to combine.
- ·Return the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors blend, 10 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and allow to rest and cool slightly.
- · Use an immersion blender or potato masher to mash about ¼ of the beans. Simmer again till the sauce resembles thin gravy.
Serve with cilantro and onions.