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Mom’s homemade black beans
Liberty Foodie
Esther Leon
Esther Leon pours a cup of red wine into a pot of black beans. The 91-year-old stays busy cooking meals as often as possible.

Since Dad passed away Feb. 28 and due to the implementation of “Social Distancing” brought on by the Coronavirus, Mom and I have plenty of time to cook together and stay entertained.

Mom’s birthday was yesterday.

Happy Birthday/St. Patrick’s Day to you Mom. 

We each had a huge glass of wine and toasted her BIG 91.

These past few days, due to her age and the current circumstances, I rarely leave the house unless it is a necessary store run. I would hate to accidentally be exposed and bring home COVID-19. So, I figured it was a great time to write down and learn how she makes some of the awesome Cuban food I’ve been enjoying for years.

It’s not an easy task. 

Mom doesn’t measure much as she’s been making these recipes for years. But I videotaped and wrote down how she makes her homemade black beans just the other day and I thought I would share it with you all so you can give it a try during your lockdown.

Mom uses a pressure cooker to soften the store bought dry black beans. If you don’t have a pressure cooker or are afraid to use one you can use canned beans and get close to the real deal. The last big batch of black beans Mom and I made were done with the following:

3 cups dry black beans

1 green and red pepper, cut into chunks

Spanish olives

1 cup of red wine (well she just eyeballed it)

Olive oil

1 Tablespoon of sugar

8-ounce can of tomato puree

Cumin, garlic and onion powder (about a tablespoon of each)

Salt to taste

We washed the beans and carefully picked out the ones that were bad or broken. We filled the pressure cooker with water covering the beans entirely.  There should be 1–2 inches of water above the beans. Toss in the cut peppers. Place the lid of the pressure cooker in place and lock it tightly.

Place the pressure cooker on the stove and cook on high until the pressure cooker top starts to move back and forth. At that point turn the heat down to medium and let them cook for at least 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes remove the cooker from the heat and wait until the pressure cooker tab drops indicating the top can now be removed.

Remove the lid and add in about a tablespoon of olive oil, 1 cup of red wine, 8-ounce can of tomato puree, Spanish olives (enough to your liking), and a tablespoon of cumin, garlic and onion powder. Stir it up and taste. Add salt to your liking.

If the beans are too thick add a little more water and more olive oil (just a tablespoon or so). Place it back over high heat for about 5 minutes and then cook on medium until ready to serve (slightly thick when stirred).

Again, if you don’t have a pressure cooker or don’t know how to use one you can use canned beans and spice them up with the ingredients above.

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