I had some Cajun roasted pork shoulder leftover from Sunday and some dried black beans (with a looming best by date) and decided to cook a Spanish style cocido with a Mexican chilli pepper influence. Just about all the beans we eat on a regular basis (in Europe, aside from broad beans) came from the Americas after 1492. The Spanish in particular, love beans and have incorporated them so much into all their regional cuisines, that one would almost expect the legumes to be native.
The black bean is considered a staple of South American cuisine and is very popular in Frijoles Negros (sometimes with pork) cooked in Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. A simpler vegetable and black bean dish called Moros y Cristianos can be found in just about every restaurant and kitchen in Cuba. Some recipes call for the addition of ham or bacon, though historically, I doubt many Cuban households could afford it. Moros y Cristianos is a dish of black beans and white rice – translated from Spanish it quite literally means Moors and Christians, a reference to Spanish Medieval history.
Pork with Black Beans (serves 4):
500g leftover roast pork (cubed)
3 slices smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
1/4 hot chorizo ring (sarta)
250g dried black beans
1 large onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large carrot (chopped)
1 stick celery (chopped)
1 red romano pepper (chopped)
3 medium tomatoes (grated)
2 squirts anchovy paste
1 teaspoon oregano (ideally Mexican)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (ground)
1 1/2 teaspoons pimentón de la Vera dulce
1 dessertspoon chopped cilantro (coriander)
a pinch ground ancho chilli (to taste)
a pinch ground chipotle chilli (to taste)
2 bay leaves
a large glass red wine
a splash red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
a teaspoon chopped coriander
a squeeze fresh lime
Soak the black beans overnight, rinse and cook gently for a couple of hours until tender. They should double in weight and size.
Poach the onion in plenty of extra virgin olive oil until soft.
Stir in the bacon and cook it until it changes colour.
Grate the tomatoes on top of the onions and bacon.
Cook for 4 or 5 minutes before adding the other vegetables.
Chop the pork into bite sized pieces and mix in. You can use fresh pork if you wish and if that is the case, brown it before frying the onion.
Warm a teaspoon of cumin seed in a frying pan until it smells fragrant. Grind the cumin and a pinch of salt with a mortar and pestle.
Sprinkle on the oregano, ground cumin, pimentón and chilli.
Mix in the beans and add a piece of chorizo for flavour (this is common in Spanish cocidos).
The bay leaves, wine, vinegar, a squirt or two of anchovy paste and the chopped coriander go in next. Season to taste.
Put the lid on and remove to a preheated oven at 160º C for 1 or 2 hours. The pork and beans have already been cooked, so this would be ready after an hour, but the longer you cook it the more the beans break down, making the sauce thick and creamy.
Sprinkle with a little more chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime fresh juice then serve with rice or corn tortillas and some grated cheese. This goes very well with a glass or two of Cerdo con Gusto (Pork with Taste) a Tempranillo from the Rioja region of Spain.