Cuban black bean soup/sauce (with optional cod steak) – slow cooker

Cuban black beans are a great alternative to Mexican or American black beans.  Prepared with cod, it is a satisfying and nutritious meal.

1 Lb. dry black beans
3 cups broth (I prefer Maggi “Tu Sabor Latino! Chicken Bouillon” or “Knorr Caldo con Sabor de Tomate Y Chipotle Bouillon.”)
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
1 green bell pepper, diced, or cut into narrow strips
1 8-oz. cod steak, cut into 1 inch cubes (Optional – this is a very “fishy” fish. Substitution: catfish.)
1 cup minced yellow onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Rinse beans and remove any small stones and debris.  Place beans in slow cooker (6 quart or larger) and add enough water to cover by 4-5 inches.  Bring to a boil, then boil for 20 minutes. This can be done either on the stove top in a large pot, or in the slow cooker. Since the slow cooker takes about 30 minutes to get to a boil on “high” setting, total time is close to an hour.  Alternately, bring to a boil on the stove top on medium high which will get it to a boil much faster.

After 20 minutes boiling, drain water in a colander in the sink, and rinse any filmy or bubbly residue – this removes the gassyness.  Add all ingredients to the crock pot, mix well, cover and cook on low for 8-12 hrs.  The beans should be soft enough to squish easily when pressed gently.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve with bread, rice, or tortillas.

NOTE: If cooking for anyone prone to gas, that is about 80% of us, soak the beans in water overnight or for at least 6 hours.  Drain of water, rinse, and prepare as described above.

This recipe can be made vegetarian / vegan by using a different broth and omitting the cod steak.

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