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Black Beans with Sofrito

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1 Black Beans with Sofrito on Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:12 pm

Crybaby

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I've made these beans a zillion times and they are to die for. The sofrito definitely adds another layer of flavor and just seems to "freshen up" the beans.  I usually stick with the initial sofrito but if you don't like cilantro, try the variation with the ground coriander, as it's very good, too.

Black Beans
Serves 6.  Recipe from the cookbook "The Best Recipe" from Cook’s Illustrated.

Beans:
1 lb. black beans, picked over and rinsed
1 smoked ham hock (about 1/2-lb.), rinsed (I use smoked ham shank,
    about 2 lbs.)
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and quartered (I chop it)
1 med. onion, minced
6 med. garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 teaspoon salt (I leave this out until beans are cooked)

Sofrito (see below for variations):
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 med. onion, minced
1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano (I smash it between my fingers)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon juice from 1 medium lime
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. FOR THE BEANS:  Bring all bean ingredients to boil in 12 cups of water over medium-high heat in heavy soup kettle or Dutch oven, skimming surface as scum rises.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, adding more cooking liquid reduces to level of beans, until tender but not splitting (taste several as they cook unevenly), about 2 hours.  Remove ham hock from beans.  When cool enough to handle, remove ham from bone, discard bone and skin, and cut meat into bite-size pieces; set aside.  Remove and discard bay leaves.
2. FOR THE SOFRITO:  Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add ingredients from onion through salt; sauté until vegetables soften, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add cumin, sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
3. TO FINISH DISH:  Scoop 1 cup beans and 2 cups cooking liquid into pan with sofrito; mash beans with potato masher or fork until smooth.  Simmer over medium heat until liquid is reduced and thickened, about 6 minutes.  Return sofrito mixture and mean from ham hock to bean pot; simmer until beans are creamy and liquid thickens to sauce consistency, 15 to 20 minutes.  Add lime juice and simmer 1 minute longer.  Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary, and serve hot over white rice.

Sofrito variations:

Black Beans with Dry Sherry
Follow recipe for Black Beans, adding 1 teaspoon ground coriander to sofrito along with cumin, substituting dry sherry for lime juice, and omitting cilantro (I used lime juice instead of dry sherry and it was super).  

Black Beans with Bacon, Balsamic Vinegar, and Sweet Pepper
Fry 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips, in medium skillet, over medium heat until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes.  Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate.  Follow recipe for Black Beans, omitting ham hock and substituting bacon fat for olive oil and 1 medium red bell pepper for the green pepper in sofrito.  Add cooked bacon to beans with sofrito, and substitute 2 teaspoons balsamic for lime juice.

Note:  We serve the beans with the following garnishes:  sour cream, sliced pickled jalapenos, Tabasco sauce, sliced green onions or snipped fresh chives and sauteed bacon bits.  You can also use diced tomatoes if they're in season, too.

2 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:05 pm

muzicgirl

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Crybaby wrote:I've made these beans a zillion times and they are to die for. The sofrito definitely adds another layer of flavor and just seems to "freshen up" the beans.  I usually stick with the initial sofrito but if you don't like cilantro, try the variation with the ground coriander, as it's very good, too.


yummy! love black beans, and love sofrito

have you ever made moros y cristianos?

very similar, but with rice

I am actually making a Cuban Black Bean & Potato soup for dinner tonight that starts with a sofrito base

3 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:28 pm

bethk

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Admin
I don't know how I missed seeing this when you posted it, Crybaby, but thanks for the recipe.

I'm thinking that sofrito would be great to have made and added for flavor to some scrambled eggs or a rice dish...but, forgive me....I would sub chopped parsley for the cilantro. I can eat it better than I did a few years ago (I use to avoid it at all costs, even the smell had me headed a different direction) but parsley is the way I normally go when I see it in a recipe. I don't like dried coriander, either.

4 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:43 am

Crybaby

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yummy! love black beans, and love sofrito

have you ever made moros y cristianos?

very similar, but with rice

I am actually making a Cuban Black Bean & Potato soup for dinner tonight that starts with a sofrito base

Nope re the moros y cristianos, MG, but I do love black beans.

5 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:49 am

Crybaby

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bethk wrote:I don't know how I missed seeing this when you posted it, Crybaby, but thanks for the recipe.

I really didn't know where to put it, Beth. Maybe you guys might consider a topic called just plain ol' recipes!

bethk wrote:I'm thinking that sofrito would be great to have made and added for flavor to some scrambled eggs or a rice dish...but, forgive me....I would sub chopped parsley for the cilantro.  I can eat it better than I did a few years ago (I use to avoid it at all costs, even the smell had me headed a different direction) but parsley is the way I normally go when I see it in a recipe.  I don't like dried coriander, either.  

You're not alone in regard to your dislike of cilantro, Beth, though we both really like it. But I think the benefit of a sofrito would be lost unless it was made right before using. Before fresh cilantro was widely available as it is now, I, too, used fresh parsley.

6 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:47 am

bethk

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Admin
[quote="Crybaby"]

I really didn't know where to put it, Beth.  Maybe you guys might consider a topic called just plain ol' recipes!

Crybaby, there is a section titled "Odds & Ends" that is useful when you don't know what general category you want to use...it's down further. But it's just fine here in the side dish area. You used the name in the thread title so when I go looking for it again ill be able to find it.

Thanks again for posting!

7 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:20 pm

Crybaby

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Just so you know, Ms. Moderator, we're in the "Casseroles and Main Dish" area.  I'm laughing here, Beth!  See!  I really couldn't figure out where to put it.  tongue

That translates to, "Where in God's name did we talk about sofrito?"

And you're welcome, of course.

8 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:23 pm

bethk

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Admin
See, due to the vodka I don't have a clue where the heck I am, nor do I really care!

9 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:25 pm

Crybaby

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bethk wrote:See, due to the vodka I don't have a clue where the heck I am, nor do I really care!
I'm laughing over here, as I almost added, "Due to the late hour" when I talked about not remembering where we'd talked about it. Great minds, and all the other self-serving BS!!

10 Re: Black Beans with Sofrito on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:33 pm

bethk

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Admin
I'll drink to that!

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