Saturday, 26 March 2011

Maida Heatter's Cuban Black Beans (take 2)

Besides for being one of the longest dishes to cook, it was nothing like I expected it to be. I thought it would be full of flavour, partially due to the cooking time and the inclusion of 2 ham hocks but the end result was surprisingly mild. Not in a bad way, and i am not sure if you can say this without sounding terribly pretentious but the word that comes to mind when describing the taste is balanced! There was no one flavour that was particularly overpowering and at the same time there was nothing missing!

To be honest I am glad that I don't need to attempt this again for 12 months, but will I after 12? Maybe...the dish is really interesting and if you are unemployed or bored or snowed in and unable to leave the house then this dish is a offers a tasty, hearty and vegetarian (if you omit the ham hocks) meal.


  • 500g dried black beans, preferably turtle beans
  • 6 cups of cold water
  • 2 small ham hocks (next time around I am not going to include these  because they are disgusting but I will add more salt)
  • a glug of olive oil (recipe calls for half a cup but seriously with the ham hock there was no way, I barely used enough to coat the pan and I don't think there was any compromise to flavour)
  • 3.5 cups of finely chopped onions
  • 1.5 cups of green capsicum
  • 2 tbs of minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbs red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco
  • 3 tbs of dark rum ( as i am typing this recipe up I realise that I accidentally left this out oops)
  • rice for black beans (rice with some lemon juice and a little butter through it)
  • onions for black beans (finely sliced sweet onion, i used a mandolin to slice. For every onion add 1 tsp of vinegar and 1 tsp of sugar)

Ok so I am exhausted after writing the ingredients. What was I thinking tackling this???

1. soak the rice in 6 cups of cold water overnight.
2. Drain the next day. Put the drained beans in a pot with 8 cups of water and ham hocks, bring to the boil. Reduce and cook slowly, uncovered, skimming surface as necessary to remove any foam until the beans are tender. Approx 4-6 hours. So basically, you could put this dish on, leave it run a marathon, come home and it still won't be ready.
3. Heat oil in a large fry pan, add the onions and green peppers and cook, stirring until mixture is wilted. Add garlic and cook briefly.
4.Add the onion mixture to the beans when they have approximately 30 minutes left to cook.
5. After 30 minutes remove the ham hocks and add Tabasco and cayenne pepper.
6. Serve over rice with onion mixture as a side.

1 comment:

  1. For uninitiated readers such as me, an article from Wikipedia:
    A ham hock or hough is the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot, where the foot was attached to the hog's leg. It is the portion of the leg - also known as pork knuckle - that is neither part of the ham proper nor the foot or ankle, but rather the extreme shank end of the leg bone and the associated skin, fat, tendons, and muscle.