05 Aug Cuban Food Mijitos!
There are many many culinary treasures to be experienced in the SF Bay area. Sadly, good Cuban food is hard to find. Growing up in Florida I took cuban bread and sandwiches for granted. One of my favorite places to eat when I was growing up was a restaurant called the Columbia. There are several Columbia Restaurants located around Florida and it bills itself as Florida’s oldest restaurant. My favorite thing to eat there was always the black beans and their special salad called a 1905 salad. You can find the recipe for the 1905 listed here. It doesn’t sound that great, I know, but trust me, this is one delicious salad. Often when I am having friends over for Cuban food here in SF I will make a 1905 salad and chicken and yellow rice and black beans. I also love to eat and make Ropa Viejo, so when I came across a recipe called Vaca Frita on Food52 I knew I had to try it.
My cousins were flying in from the East Coast and I knew they would be hungry after a long day of traveling. I was also totally craving Cuban food and I knew the aroma would be very enticing and welcoming when they walked in the door.
So, the menu was created:
Vaca Frita from Food 52
MJ’s Black Beans & Rice
Store bought plaintain chips
I have made plaintains myself but on this day I just didn’t feel like making them or searching for plaintains which aren’t common to this area. The store bought chips were fine and tasted great dipped in the black beans.
The Vaca Frita was out of this world and an instant hit with everyone. This recipe is a keeper and one I will be making time and I again. I highly recommend heading over to FOOD52 to read about this recipe and try it out yourselves, I guarantee you won’t be dissappointed.
MJ’s Black Beans:
1 bag of dried black beans, soaked in water overnight or quick boiled depending on your time
At least 6 or 7 garlic cloves, smashed and then diced very fine
1 yellow onion diced
8 Cups chicken broth
1 ham hock
Red wine vinegar for drizzling.
Uncle Ben’s White Rice ( I always use Uncle Ben’s white rice when making beans, not the quick cooking)
Add about 2 TBS olive oil to a large stock pot over medium heat. Add most of your diced onion (reserve some for topping) and the garlic and simmer until onions are translucent and garlic begins to turn golden brown. Add your ham hack and cook until it starts crisping up. Add your beans and stir around in onions, garlic and ham hock for about a minute. Cover with chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, add S&P to your taste and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half. At this point turn off the heat because you don’t want your beans to get mushy. They will be fine even if you are not serving right away.
While your beans are cooking cook your white rice. I like to cook my rice in chicken broth to add flavor and then drop a pat of butter in at then end to make it really buttery and good.
Ladle some rice into a bowl and top with the beans and reserved onions. Drizzle with red wine vinegar if you like.
If you live in Florida serve with crusty Cuban bread. I served with an Italina loaf b/c I do not have access to good Cuban bread here.
P.S. If I ever had a Foodtruck this would be it!!