Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Caribbean Black Bean, Corn, and Beef Stew

I make all my long-simmered dishes on the weekend. I can put them together while the little man naps, then they bubble quietly away for a few hours until dinnertime. This stew brought a nice blast of tropical flavor to a grey, wet March day. Every time I cook corn that I froze from last summer's crop, I am amazed at how incredibly sweet and flavorful it is. (Next year, I really need to freeze more of it.) Serve this over white rice, if you like, or accompanied by cornbread.

2 cups dry black beans
1 lb stew beef, cubed
2-3 tsp ground cumin (divided)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, fine cornmeal, or masa harina
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely minced
1/2 cup dark rum (optional but nice)
3 Tbsp honey
Beef stock and/or more water
2 cups corn kernels (frozen is fine)
1 Tbsp lime juice

Place the beans in a bowl and cover generously with boiling water. Let them soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Toss the cubed beef with 1 tsp ground cumin, the flour/cornmeal/masa harina, and some salt and pepper so that it is well coated.

Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the beef and brown over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and onion and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Add a splash of water to deglaze the pan and stir well. Stir in the remaining cumin, the coriander, minced chipotle peppers, rum, and honey.

Drain and rinse the beans, then add them to the pot. Add beef stock and or water to cover everything in the pot. Turn up the heat until it bubbles nicely, then reduce to very low. Cover and simmer on very low heat for at least 1 1/2 hours and as long as 3 or 4.

Toward the end of the cooking time, add the corn. Stir in the lime juice just before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve hot.

Serves about 6.

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