Saturday, May 05, 2012

Cuban "moros y cristianos" Black Bean-Plantain Dish with Brown Basmati Rice

We got home hungry after picking strawberries (we go to a nice organic and biodynamic farm) and I wanted to get dinner going pretty quickly. We had a plantain and that made me think of doing something tropical with black beans. Beans are great ingredients, but they sometimes don't agree with me, so I underuse them. Red beans are much more likely to cause me digestive problems than black beans, so I thought I'd make a plantain-black bean dish with a starch like mashed potatoes or maybe with quinoa.

I did a quick search and immediately found an intriguing recipe for Cuban-Style Black Beans with Rice and Plantains - yay! I followed much of this recipe, with some small differences, such as using brown basmati rice, as well as adding chives and jalapeno pepper. Here's what I did:

I made a pot of brown basmati rice by mixing a measure of uncooked rice with two measures of water and half of a vegan bouillon cube (I needed the other half for the beans), bringing to a boil, and simmering for about 50m. Easy enough!

To make the main dish, I did the following:
  1. I cut up the plantain into slices maybe a little larger than 1/4" thick, then I quartered each slice. I sauteed the plantain pieces for around five minutes till just turning brown. In the last minute, I added a generous amount of fresh chives - I think I used about 8 stalks, cut into 1" or so lengths.
  2. I moved the plantain-chive from the pan to a bowl and kept it warm in a toaster oven.
  3. I sauteed a half onion, cut into approximately 3/8" cubes, along with half of a bell pepper, cut similarly. I cooked for 6-8 minutes until the onion was lightly browned.
  4. I had prepared a half cup of boiling water with the other half bouillon cube, and poured this into the pan with the onion and pepper, along with most of the beans in an approximately 15 ounce can of cooked black beans (washed and drained), about 3/4 teaspoon of ground cumin and a few shakes of salt and lemon pepper (normal black pepper would have been fine, instead).
  5. I cooked for 5 minutes or so more, until most of the liquid was gone.
  6. I served the rice in a bowl and spooned the bean-onion-pepper mixture atop, along with plantain-chive and a half dozen or so cubes of roughly chopped jalapeno (I didn't cook the jalapeno in because my daughter probably wouldn't have eaten this dish in that case). I garnished with a few sprigs of cilantro leaves; I should also have put a small sliver of lime on the side.
My Dad, who arrived early this past week to stay with us for a few months, wife, daugther, and I all enjoyed this dish. I should more often make bowled rice-bean dishes. Yum! Incidentally, the recipe that I used as the base for this dish, has a description that "this is inspired by the Cuban national dish moros y cristianos (Moors and Christians)".


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