Sunday, August 9, 2009

Black Beans, Blended Beans, Refried Black Beans

In addition to the plantains, I also fell in love with black beans in Guatemala since we typically ate them three meals a day. When eaten together, black beans and rice form a complete protein. Additionally, just one serving of beans and rice contains nearly 1/3 of one's daily fiber needs.

Here's the basic black bean recipe I learned while in Guatemala. Variations also follow

2 c. dried black beans (rinse and sort out any bad beans, rocks, or debris)
5 c. water
1/2 c. chopped onion
1-2 garlic cloves coarsely chopped
2 t. chicken bouillon
Salt to taste
1 bay leaf
Optional - fresh cilantro, cumin, key lime juice (once thoroughly cooked)

Place all ingredients into a medium large pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 2-4 hours until soft. These also work great in a crock pot on medium for 3-4 hours. Remove bay leaf, & strain.

Black Bean & Rice Soup
After the beans are cooked, add 2 c. chicken broth and 1 c. rice. Continue to cook until the rice is cooked and serve as soup.

Blended Black Beans
After the beans finish cooking, scoop 2 cups (with juices) into blender and blend until smooth and viscous, adjusting liquid (adding water or chicken broth) if necessary. Repeat process using all of the beans and juices. As the beans cool, they will thicken. Great for rice accompaniment, burritos, side dishes etc.

Refried Black Beans (Frijoles volteados)

As above, blend beans and liquid into a thick mixture.
Over a medium high flame, heat 1/2 c. vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Add beans and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, begin to move the beans around. Adding more oil (as needed) continue to cook the beans. As they thicken begin to toss the beans against the side of the pan until they begin to form into a solid mass. Continue to cook and toss until the outer layer forms a darkened crisp layer, and the mass forms into a loaf like shape.

Slide onto a plate, and slice to serve.

Note - authentic re-fried black beans are made with lard. These recipes substitute olive oil.
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  1. This was a vary satisfying google image hit. beans are meant to be refried into a log.

  2. Thanks for the recipe. Does it use dried black beans?

  3. Yes it uses dried black beans. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. I recently had a Guatemalan dish while I was on holiday in San Francisco: fried plantains with blended black beans and sour cream. It tasted amazing - like nothing else I've had before (I live in Melbourne, Australia - Guatemalan food is hard to find here). I'm now obsessed with this dish and need to make it, so thanks for your blog post!

  5. Tom - here's a link to plaintains as well! Happy eating.

  6. Wow - great! Thanks for that. I managed to buy plantains (I had to go to a special grocery store to get them) but they're very green. I can't wait for them to ripen! I did some research and read that if you put them in a paper bag in a warm place and put a ripening apple or banana in the bag, it speeds up the ripening. So this is what I've done.

    Do you know how long blended black beans keep for? I made a batch yesterday and I'm wondering if they'll keep until the plantains ripen. Or should I just eat them and instead make another batch once the plantains are ready to be fried?

    1. Tom, I try to use them within a few days, 3-4 would be the max before they start smelling and tasting funny. I often blend them, and divide them into 1-2 c. portions, place them in baggies, and freeze them individually. Unseasoned, they can be used with a brownie or in baking as a substitute for shortening or fat, and they thaw quickly.

    2. Tom, you may want to google "Tostones" for some fun recipes for green or unripe plantains as well. Much starchier, but kind of like a very thick potato chip. Tostones are staples in the Dominican and parts of Central America. The unripe plantain slice is mashed and fried, and pretty delectable that way as well.

    3. Thanks for your quick reply. OK - so if they are fresh, use them within a few days or otherwise freeze them? I hadn't thought about freezing them. That's a good idea.

    4. Thanks again for the advice! I have tried Tostones before (well, frozen ones that need to be reheated). They were OK but I prefer the sweetness of ripe plantains.