Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spicy Slow Cooker Cuban Black Beans

Each year during the holiday season, we travel to the Florida Keys to spend a few days with the FisherKing (aka my dad.) We fish, eat and relax. One ritual is to visit a local Cuban restaurant called Habanos, where we enjoy their roasted pork and delightful black beans. I personally don’t eat them over rice, but the rest of the family does. I do know they cook their black beans for hours. Along comes Hamilton Beach to sponsor the 37 Cooks this year! When I received the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, I knew Cuban Black Beans were in order. I was also thrilled to be able to pair my recipe with fellow 37 Cooks member Holly. She is preparing a perfect Cuban sandwich and what better to serve along side?! I sent the FisherKing over to Habanos in the hope of discovering the secret to their flavorful black beans. He was more disappointed than I was when he called later to say he left with no inside secrets. It gave me the determination I needed to come up with what I thought would be a great slow cooked black bean side dish. With no rice…

Spicy Slow Cooker Cuban Black Beans
by Susan R-H

Serves 6-8

1 pound dried black beans
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher/sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2-3 chipotles in adobo, minced
3 teaspoons fresh ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
2 cups stock (I used pork stock in a box)
1 6-8 ounce meaty ham hock

As with all dried legumes, it is important pick through and thoroughly rinse the black beans, looking for small pebbles or other foreign bits that may be present. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with cool water, covering the beans by at 2 inches. Allow the beans to soak overnight.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent and soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer the mixture to the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Quart Slow Cooker. Drain and rinse the beans, shaking off the excess water. Add the beans, chipotles, coriander, oregano and stock to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Taste the cooking liquid to check the salt level. Add additional salt to taste if needed, but remember, the ham hock is smoked and will release a bit of salt as it slow cooks among the beans. Nestle the ham hock in the middle of the beans and add water to cover the beans by no more than 3/4”. Adding too much water at this point could cause the beans to remain “soupy” after they become tender. You can add additional water periodically as needed. It is important not to dilute the flavors at the start of cooking. Set the slow cooker to the high setting and plan on a cooking time of approximately 5 hours. Remove the ham hock, cover and let it cool. Gently remove all of the lean meat from the ham hock. Mix the meat back into the beans, discarding the fat, bones and skin.

Serve in a warmed bowl as a side to your favorite Cuban main dish.

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