After much planning my Dad and his partner finally headed off to Cuba last month. Months of arranging visas and planning which jazz clubs they would visit – as my Dad is now retired he does have more time to spend on these things. Part of me envied him – after resisting offers from my mother to take me to Cuba (as she so desperately wanted to go) my Dad had ‘beaten me to it’ – you could call it payback for the month I took off travelling across Europe much to his silent jealousy. Just to be clear this not a rivalry situation – just some unfortunate past regrets on my Dads part.
Under no illusions that the communication channels would be somewhat stunted by the lack of WiFi and mobile signal (although it must have been bliss at least for a while) my Dad kept my sister and I updated as much as he could, although really complaining about the weather was not something we were too interested in, they seemed to have a pretty good time, although the beach was somewhat boring for them they moved on to the rest of their holiday with much to explore.
They experienced the local food as much as they could and as with all parents he came back with a new obsession. Black beans were his new thing – I lectured him about being careful when using them (they come predominantly dried in the UK and soaking them for at least 8 hours is important as bean poisoning is no joke) he described a thick soup which they poured over white rice but he wasn’t sure of the recipe. I quickly googled it as to be honest this was not an area I have experience in. Two minutes later a recipe for Cuban bean soup was winging its way by email to him and he was delighted to discover the use of chunky ham or bacon was part of the recipe. I left him to try the recipe himself and he brought over some of the dried beans for us to cook ourselves.
A couple of weekends down the line and truth be told I haven’t tried to make them (partly because of a previous black bean incident), I am having coffee with my dad when he brings me a tub of frozen Cuban black beans which he has previously cooked; he explained that I would need to water it down as it was very thick – fair enough.
That evening and I did as suggested, I also added some frozen mixed vegetables and frozen spinach. The rice was a bit stickier than I had planned but that was due to rinsing it as much as I could have done but frankly that doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. I found mixing the rice and beans together distributed the flavours nicely but I am not here to tell you how to eat. I added some smoked chorizo and streaky bacon which I had pre-cooked to a delicious crispy texture. As dad only gave me a portion of his version I could understand the principle of the recipe but not knowing the original thickness I couldn’t tell you if my version was any less authentic.
If you want to check out the original recipe the link is below. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!