Sometimes I begin my meal planning with the protein or main entree and then work out what the sides are going to be. This time, I knew I wanted to cook some of the black beans from Sweet Harold's garden. I started with a recipe search and found one that sounded what my taste buds were searching for and then filled out the remainder of the meal.
We'll start with the pork chops. A quick google search turned up many Cuban pork chop recipes, but after reading through a few, this one from Emeril seemed to be exactly what I needed.
Splash of white vinegar
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest 1 orange
zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
4 bone-in pork chops
In a shallow baking dish, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, orange juice, orange zest, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, onion, red pepper, herbs and cumin. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup of oil. Then in the same dish, lay the pork chops so that they are completely flat, turning to coat in the marinade. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Heat remaining oil on medium high in a large sauté pan until almost smoking. Place the pork chops in the pan, one at a time, cooking until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook on other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. emove the pork chops to a plate and cover with foil. Then, in the same pan over medium heat, pour in the reserved marinade and let simmer 2-3 minutes. Slide the pork back into the pan and continue to cook another minute or so. After plating, spoon some of the onions and gravy over the top.
Now on to those yummy black beans. A few years ago, I talked Sweet Harold into planting a row of black beans in our garden. They were super easy to grow, loved the heat of Alabama and in particular the soil of my grandmother's garden spot and we were good to go. We enjoyed those so much it wasn't that difficult to convince him to plant a few more rows this year.
Here's the Cooks.com version of Frijoles Negros or Cuban Black Beans
1 lb. dried black beans
2 qts. water
2/3 c. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
6 sweet chili or ancho peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 tsp. powdered chicken or ham bouillon
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. whole dried oregano, crushed
2 tbsp. sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. dry wine
1 1/2 tbsp. vinegar
Pick over beans, discarding any shriveled, broken beans and foreign particles. Wash well and soak overnight in sufficient water to cover plus an additional 2 inches. The next day, drain beans; rinse in fresh running water and drain again. Discard any beans that float to top or are split.
Place in large pot of water. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 2/3 cups olive oil and gently sauté garlic, onions, and chili peppers for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you have pork, bacon, salt pork or ham (even leftovers or a ham bone), you can chop it up and sauté it in the oil for added flavor, (or in the case of a bone, add it to the soup) but this is optional.
Add 1 cup of drained cooked black beans and mash together with the rest of the ingredients in skillet.
Add this mixture to the pot with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, sugar, bouillon, and bay leaves.
Cover and simmer 1 hour on medium heat. Add wine and vinegar, cover, and cook over low heat for another 30 minutes. Uncover and cook until sauce thickens as desired; add more water if required.
Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.