I hesitate to use the word ‘authentic’ since this recipe was created from a taste memory.
But — it’s as close as I can remember to the actual life changing beans and rice I ate somewhere in the Western Caribbean last January.
The key to recreating the taste comes in the form of a secret ingredient!
Here we are, sun soaked, hot, and hungry. I still dream about this meal and I’m betting Brent reminisces about his chicken wings.
3/4 cup dry beans [I’ve tried black, red, and pinto beans. Black beans recreated the Caribbean flavor best.]
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon bacon drippings* [<– secret ingredient, what?!]
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried garlic
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked rice
*Let’s talk about the secret ingredient: bacon drippings! I prefer bacon without added nitrates or other unnatural ingredients. You can generally find bacon with minimal ingredients such as pork, salt, water, brown sugar. Cook two strips of bacon in a pan over medium heat and then carefully pour the bacon drippings (aka grease) into a heat proof dish. [If you’d rather not eat bacon drippings you could substitute a few chopped up slices of ham [all natural] to flavor the beans].
Soak beans overnight in cold water. In a large pot heat olive oil and sauté onions. Rinse beans and place them in the large pot with about 2 inches of water covering them. Add salt to the water. Place lid on pot and bring beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Add spices and bacon drippings, replace lid. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
At this point if there’s still a lot of water left carefully drain most of it so that it barely skims the top of the beans in the pot. If you happen to have fresh basil and oregano growing in your garden feel free to throw in a few chopped leaves. Return the beans to the stove and heat over medium heat without the lid for another 15 minutes. This will help boil away most of the remaining water and create a creamy, soupy sauce for the beans.
Divide the cooked, heated rice into two bowls. Spoon beans over each bowl of rice.
Ah yes. This is totally the oregano-ie and bacon-ness that I remember from our cruise.
At some point I might try cooking the rice in the bean pot during the last 20 minutes of simmering.
This dish is wonderful as is but you could always dress it up with cheese, salsa, sour cream, ground beef, lettuce, chicken, avocado, cilantro, peppers, lime, you name it.
Emily’s totally kicked it up a notch with this coconut ginger rice + black beans! Seriously go look at the cheesy goodness.
This one pot black beans & rice recipe from Crystal has a Cuban flair.