Cast Iron Chronicles: Black Beans and Rice

This Florida girl really feels sorry for non-Floridians who have never eaten Cuban food. Ropa vieja, lechón asado with lots of garlic, boliche, empanadas, maduros, dulce de leche, and, of course, pressed Cuban sandwiches with a side of black beans and rice. Although South Florida is best known for its vibrant Cuban community, we have pockets here and there in Central Florida and some excellent local restaurants, like Rolando’s in Casselberry, Numero Uno in Orlando, and the beloved Black Bean Deli in Winter Park. But sometimes you just want something quick and you’re already in your pajamas (or out of your bra, right, ladies?), so you have to make do at home.

Here’s a recipe that’s in no way authentically Cuban, but it’ll do in a pinch. You can have this on a table in thirty minutes, which makes it perfect for weeknight suppers.

Easy Black Beans and Rice

1-1/2 cups white rice
3 cans black beans, undrained
1 link smoked sausage or polska kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced
4 T Goya sofrito
minced onion (to taste)
minced garlic (to taste)
bay leaf
olive oil and butter

Heat skillet, pour in olive oil and add butter. When butter foams, add cut-up sausage. Sauté until browned. Add black beans, sofrito, garlic, onion, and spices, stir to combine. Prepare rice (it’s better if you substitute half the water for chicken broth or toss in a boullion cube). Simmer black beans over medium heat while rice cooks. Remove bay leaves and serve.

If you have more time, you can make this more authentic by creating your own sofrito mixture of sautéed onion, pepper, tomato, and olive oil. Add to the beans with a shot of vinegar or maybe some lime juice.

Makes enough to feed four with some leftovers for lunch–if you can control yourself.

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