CUBA | CARIBBEAN | SPAIN
Although the basic ingredients remain the same between the two coasts of the Atlantic, Cuba and the Caribbean in the west and Portugal, Spain and western Africa in the east, the methods vary considerably. Some cooks prefer to cook beans and rice separately, a method common on the Iberian peninsua. In the Americas the beans are precooked in an aromatic stock and finished in the rice. And, of course, in Africa and in the Caribbean hot chillies are an essential ingredient, a dash of paprika by comparison in Iberia. Bacon is added to some versions. And in many versions the bean-ratio is 1:1, usually those where the rice is cooked separately and served with the beans to leave the diner with task of mixing the two together – a symbolic gesture that embraces the name of the dish.
900 ml ham hock stock 750 ml water 300 g medium grain rice 200 g black beans, soaked overnight 200 g (2) onions 2 long sweet peppers / bell peppers, sliced thin along length (optional) 4 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped 30 ml olive oil / vegetable oil 1 scotch bonnet chilli, cut into thin strips (optional) / 5 g hot paprika 5 g marjoram / oregano leaves, chopped fine 1 bay leaf Salt, large pinch Water for soaking beans
Place the beans in a pot with the water, bring to the boil, remove scum. Drain the water and add the beans to another pot with one of the onions, quartered, two garlic cloves, the bay leaf and the hock stock. Cook until the beans are almost cooked, about 65 minutes. Strain and retain the cooking liquid. In a large deep pot fry the remaining onion and garlic with the chilli or paprika and peppers, about five minutes over a high heat, stirring constantly. Add the herbs and rice, coat in the mixture. Add 550 ml of the cooking liquid. Bring to a low boil, add beans, bring back to a low boil. Remove from heat, cover and cook over a low heat until the rice is almost dry, but has not stuck to the bottom of the pot.
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