Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Cuban Cure

Regardless of why you are sad, sick, or otherwise less inclined to tolerate anyone on the planet, the Cuban Cure in my family is the end all be all in culinary medicine. My mother is Spanish, so I grew up with this cure. It is the ultimate in comfort food. The trick is the sofrito. Sofrito is the Spanish version of mirepoix. It is mixture of onions, peppers, garlic, and spices that flavor nearly every Spanish dish, and it is the sweetest aroma in the kitchen. It just smells like home. The other big trick to mash down about 1/3 of the beans until it is a lovely black purple paste which thickens the dish. My grandmother used to do this with a mallet. Which still makes me smile, but I now do it with a potato masher. So here it is, my silver bullet for all that ails you.

Frijoles Negros (Black Beans and Rice aka the Cuban Cure)


3 cans of organic black beans

2 large red bell peppers

2 large onions

olive oil for the pan

a good palm full or 2 Tablespoons of each: Pimenton de la Vera (smoked paprika), Cumin, Salt

a good pink or 1 teaspoon of each: Black Pepper, Coriander, and Cayenne

4 cloves of grated or minced garlic

1 1/2 c. sherry

cooked rice


1. I admit, I cheat I use canned beans, organic here does make a difference. Chef's say there is a difference I think organic canned beans taste just fine.

2. Making the Sofrito. In a large pot of over medium high heat saute the diced onions and peppers until they are translucent and starting to sweat (i.e. you can smell them.) Add all of the spices, keep them around, you might need more when it is done cooking. Let them toast a bit until fragrant. Add the garlic and stir. Add the sherry and swirl about until a bit has cooked out and you can no longer taste the alcohol.

3. The paste: Add about a third of the beans to the sofrito and spices. Cook for a few minutes until the pot comes to a boil. Using a potato masher or a hammer if you are inclined mash down to a lovely purple black pulp.

4. The delish: Add the rest of the beans and allow the sauce to reduce, about 10 minutes or so.

5. The serve: over rice with fresh cilantro and some salsa, with chicken, with anything, I would eat this on cardboard.

As always, many blessings, much love, and happy cooking.


Food Sage said...

Instead of doing that all that work chopping and making sofrito try out this really delicious sofrito from Old Havana Foods we found on the web at:

You can substitute 1 - 12 oz jar of their All-Purpose Sautéed Seasoning in place of the onion, peppers, garlic, basil, black pepper, etc. It is really good stuff. We’ve been using it to make chicken and rice (Arroz con Pollo), red beans and ham (Frijoles Colorados), Paella, Picadillo (Cuban sloppy joes), braised short ribs in wine, tamal en cazuela (Cuban Polenta with Pork) and others.

Food Sage said...

Oops - make that 1-24 oz jar of the Old Havana Foods sofrito.

Dave said...

I love this recipe!