Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cuban Black Beans with Cucumber Salsa

I have the great honor of working at a place that provides lunches!  It is truly a double edged sword because all of the food is so delicious and scrumptious but if I eat it all then I will not longer be able to walk out the front door!  I try and keep myself to the salad bar and the occasional visit to the sandwich bar, but this takes no less than all of my self control!

There are a few exceptions that I will make...

1: Whenever the words "vegetable bar" are the South we do not mean steamed veggies...this is a other part of the "meat 'n three"...we are talking fried okra, collard greens, squash casserole and my personal favorite MAC 'N CHEESE!!!  That's right, we consider mac 'n cheese a vegetable and are proud of it!  There is truly a stampeed to the dining hall on days when this is being served!

2: Cuban Black Beans and Rice with Cucumber in the world they make this fresh delicious treat for over 700 people is beyond me but I am so grateful they do!  It is seriously one of my all time favorite dishes that we serve!

In an attempt to replicate the black beans and salsa I did some investigating!  The lovely ladies of our dining hall were more than happy to provide me with the recipe but in order to pair it down from serving 700 people was turning out to be a little more than any of us bargained for, so I decided to do some research and see what I came up with.

Well I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised!  Though much better after sitting a day or two my cuban black beans were excellent and the salsa was just the freshness they needed!

Cuban Black Beans with Cucumber Salsa

For the Salsa:

1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped vidalia onions
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Peel and remove the seeds from the cucumber with a spoon.
Chop and set in a large mixing bowl.  
Combine remaining ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
For the Spicy Cuban Black Beans:
1 14 oz package of dried black beans
1 ham hock (you may substitute smoked turkey parts or bacon)
4 cups chicken stock
1 small head of garlic chopped(not clove but whole head)
1 small onion diced
1 half of 1 green pepper chopped
1 half of 1 red pepper chopped
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs cumin
2 whole bay leaves
1 small bunch of cilantro chopped
1 whole habanero pepper (left whole)
2 tbs cider vinegar
1/4 cup dry sherry
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to tasteDirections:

Soak beans overnight covered in water
Pour off 1/2 of soaking liquid.
Place beans in large sauce pan with ham hock and cover with 2 cups of chicken stock
Add ham hock, garlic, onions, cumin, bay leaves and oregano and cook for 1 and 1/2 hours over medium heat adding more chicken stock as necessary (make sure beans are always covered cooking in liquid).
After 1 and 1/2 hours of cooking add green and red peppers, whole habanero, cider vinegar, and sherry wine.
In last half hour of cooking add kosher salt and pepper to taste.

For the White Rice:
Place 1/4 cup of olive in in sauce pan.
Add 1 cup of rice and saute till oil is absorbed and slightly toasty
Stir, then add 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil uncovered. Once boiling stir rice.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Leave covered for 20 minutes. Then turn off heat.  Uncover and flake rice with a fork.
Combine rice with the black beans.
Serve the black beans and rice topped with the salsa
Just because Percy is so stinking cute...
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