Cuban Black Beans and Rice
- table salt
- 1 Cup dried black beans
- 2 Cups low-sodium chicken broth *
- 2 Cups water
- 2 Large green bell peppers
- 1 Large onion
- 1 Head garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 Cups long-grain rice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 Ounces lean salt pork * *
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
- 4 Teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Medium scallions
- 1 lime
Rinse 1 cup dried black beans and pick out any blemished beans and stones. Dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons salt in 2 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Stem, seed, and halve 2 large green bell peppers. Halve 1 large onion at equator. Keep root end intact and peel halves. Remove 5 cloves from 1 head garlic. Keep skins on garlic head and halve head at equator. Peel and mince 5 garlic cloves. You should have about 5 teaspoons.
Combine drained beans, 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water, 1 pepper half, 1 onion half, halved garlic head, 2 bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt in Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until beans are just soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Using tongs, remove and discard pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Drain beans in colander set over large bowl, reserving 2 ½ cups bean cooking liquid. (If you don’t have enough bean cooking liquid, add water to equal 2 1/2 cups.) Do not wash out Dutch oven.
Rinse Rice and Prepare Sofrito
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. While beans are simmering, place 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice in large fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear, about 1 ½ minutes. Shake strainer vigorously to remove all excess water. Set rice aside. Cut remaining 3 pepper halves and remaining onion half into 2-inch pieces.Pulse pepper and onion in food processor until broken into rough ¼-inch pieces, about eight 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Set vegetables aside. Mince enough fresh oregano to yield 1 tablespoon. Cut 6 ounces salt pork into 1/4-inch cubes.
In now-empty Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt pork over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and rendered, 15 to 20 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, chopped peppers and onion, minced fresh oregano, and 4 teaspoons ground cumin. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Cook Rice and Beans
Add rinsed rice and stir to coat, about 30 seconds. Stir in beans, reserved bean cooking liquid, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
Finish and Serve
Fluff with fork and let rest, uncovered, 5 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice 2 scallions. Cut lime into 8 wedges. Serve beans and rice, passing scallions and lime wedges separately.