Rice with Black Beans

By the time the United States annexed Florida in 1821, the Spanish had been present in St. Augustine for three centuries, leaving an indelible mark on the cuisine of northern Florida. Although this dish is a pilau, the Spanish name for it is Arroz con las habas negras.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 pound dried black beans

2 pints cold water

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 red bell peppers, diced

2 large onions, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 recipe Basic Rice

Pick over beans and place in a 6 to 8-quart Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover to a depth of 2 inches and soak beans at least 4 hours or overnight.

Rinse beans and cover with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour. Add bell pepper, onions, oil and salt and pepper. Continue to slowly simmer for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until beans are tender and begin to thicken. Adjust seasoning, and serve on rice with smoked pork, ham or sausage.

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