This is part two of the Latin American feast that began with yesterday’s onion-pepper sofrito, which you’ll need in order to make these beans. Apparently, Venezuelans shy away from heat and strong flavors, so these beans are not only exceedingly mild, but pleasantly sweet, thanks to the inclusion of brown sugar (you can use the more authentic panela, if you happen to have some). Matt, a spice-phobe, loved how sweet the beans were, while I, a spice-a-holic, added some hot sauce (Sontava habañero is my favorite for Western foods) to complement said sweetness.
I hesitate to even say this, but you could substitute three cans of black beans for the dry…but please don’t! You really don’t want to miss out on the incredible texture and firm bite that homecooked beans lend to this dish. I’ll make the directions as clear-cut and foolproof as I can—I promise!
- 1 lb dry black beans
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup onion-pepper sofrito
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Hot sauce to taste (optional)
- Put the beans in a large pot, add enough water to cover by 2 inches, and let soak 8-10 hours, or overnight.
- Drain and rinse the beans, return them to the pot, and add 5 cups cold water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boiling, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add water, 1 cup at a time, if the beans start to get dry. The beans are ready when they are firm to the bite but tender inside, and still hold their shape and don’t smash when you stir them.
- If there’s any water remaining, drain it off and return the beans to the pot. (If you’re using canned beans, this is when you’d rinse and drain them and place them in a pot on the stove.)
- Add all remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring often and adding water, about 1/2 cup at a time, as necessary. (Remove the bay leaf before serving.)
Terry Romero’s Yellow Rice with Garlic (in Viva Vegan) gets its neon hue from the use of annatto oil, which I don’t have. I used chile oil and added a pinch of turmeric to give mine a little color anyway, but you don’t have to. You can also use vegetable broth in place of the water + bouillon.
- 2 1/2 Tbsp chile oil (or olive oil)
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
- 2 3/4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp vegan bouillon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Pinch of turmeric
- 1/4 chopped cilantro
- In a large heavy pot, combine the oil and garlic over medium heat. Cook until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly with the oil. Add the water, bouillon, salt, and turmeric.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
- Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer the rice to a large bowl or container. Add the cilantro, and more turmeric if you want it to be a brighter yellow.
- Fluff with a fork to combine.
Come back tomorrow for the mouthwatering seitan dish that will complete this Latin American feast!