I am a huge fan of Cuban cooking, and one of my favorite things to eat is Cuban Black Beans and rice. Eating was my favorite thing to do when I went to Miami, in addition to nightclubbing that is. Matter of fact, there’s a restaurant in the Miami airport that I would PLAN a layover for, just so I could go there and get some food. Pilots, flight attendants, airport workers – everybody would bum rush that spot because the food was screamin delicious.
The only problem is, making a pot of flavorful cuban black beans is a chore. Soaking the beans and cooking them slowly with the right seasonings and spices develops the rich flavor you want, but all that requires forethought. And advance meal planning. And advance shopping.
Not much of that “advance” stuff goes on around here, lemme tell you!
Well, one glorious day while surfing around, I happened to stumble across a website that sold Cuban black bean kits! Not cheap or anything, but I still ordered a couple of packages to see how it would taste (had to be better than canned beans, right?) Beans such as black beans, garbanzo beans, black eyed peas, collards and kale are mainstays of my diet these days. I love this eating style, but I wanted to be able to get that great Cuban black bean taste without having to run to the store and go through much drama.
My order came several weeks before I actually got around to opening the box. Here’s what the package looked like – a cute little muslin cloth bag, along with another shot of the bag’s contents.
The list of ingredients is 100% natural, real food stuffs: black beans, sauterne cooking wine, green bell peppers, onion, sugar, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and bay leaf. No chemical additives whatsoever, and 100% vegan.
I liked that the seasonings, the oil and vinegar (a key ingredient in Cuban black beans) were all sealed in airtight packages so they stayed fresh during shipment. So I dug out Ye Old Crock Pot and followed the directions which were essentially:
- Open bean package.
- Rinse beans.
- Place beans in crock pot.
- Add water.
- Cook for 5 hours on high.
Simple enough. I love the Sit Down and Cook method of meal preparation, so this was right down my alley. At the 5 hour mark I got up from the sofa, smashed some of the beans against the side of the pot as directed, stirred in the seasonings, put the top back on the crockpot, and went and sat back down for another 45 minutes.
At that point dinner was ready.
Can’t get any easier than that, so I was sold!
The beans have the mild, savory flavor of Cuban style black beans, not the spicy flavor I sometimes prefer which is more Caribbean. Honey, these things were gone so fast I forgot to take a picture of them, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough black beans in your life to know what they look like anyway.
We Give MammaQ’s Cuban Black Beans
My suggestions if you decide to try this product yourself:
- The package warns not to put the seasonings in too early because the flavor will cook away. I think even 45 minute was too long (though the instructions say one hour).
- To protect the flavor, cook your beans for 5-1/2 hours, then add the seasonings the last 30 minutes instead. I think that would give much better and more flavorful results.
- If you are serving four or more people as a side dish with meat and veggies, and they are eaters with a healthy appetite, you may want to cook two packages. Suggested servings is 8 people at 1/3 cup of cooked beans which is to me miniscule and unrealistic. I cooked just one package and a mere three people polished it off.
- Be sure to put your rice on at that 30 minute mark so the hot beans and hot rice are ready to eat at the same time.
- Order your own at www.mammaqs.com