Sunday, January 2, 2011

Faijao e Banana

Once upon many years ago, my kids would watch some Disney Channel.  They had a series of mini-commercial type programs called Pass The Plate, aimed to introduce kids to the idea that different cultures would eat the same foods with different preparation.  My children latched onto a recipe called Arroz con Faijao e Banana, or Rice with Beans and Banana.

Tonight, I had thawed some cube steaks without any idea what to do with them.  A popular recipe at cooked them in salsa and recommended serving the steaks with black beans and rice.  Knowing that I can usually get my kids to eat these beans, I whipped out the recipe and figured out how I would adapt it to the ingredients I had in my house.  Canned beans, white onion, and spices...that'll do.  I decided to skip the accompanying rice recipe because I had a lot going on and I had a package of Mahatma saffron rice that I was hoping to use up.  (Because, of course, I am going to learn how to make my own saffron rice this year.  Right?)

I put two cans of black beans, rinsed well, into a three quart pot.  I added one half a white onion, left whole, and one bay leaf.  I sprinkled a tablespoon of cumin on top and put in three turns each of salt and pepper.

I filled the pot with just enough water to cover the beans and cooked on a low simmer about 40 minutes, when the beans were soft and nearly too mushy.  I then turned the burner off until everything else was ready.

At serving time, I drained the excess liquid and removed the onion and bay leaf.

The Verdict

I think everyone ate this.  I wasn't hungry because I ate too much rice pudding (you'll see that some other time, when I get it right) but there was not a bean left at the end of the meal.  We let the kids choose and chop their own bananas at the table because no one wants to have a bowl of pre-chopped bananas going bad in the fridge.

Faijao e Banana (serves 6, with rice and meat)

two cans black beans, thoroughly rinsed
one half small white onion, left whole
one bay leaf
one teaspoon cumin (you can increase it if you like it cumin-y)
salt and pepper to taste

Put rinsed beans, onion, bay leaf and seasonings in a pot.  Add enough water to just cover the beans.

Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, or until the beans are tender.  Allow to cool slightly in cooking liquid.

Drain excess liquid before serving.  Serve with some sort of rice and bananas.

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