Despite the unfortunate circumstances that took me home last week, one good thing came out of it. MOM FOOD.
My mom’s food. Ask anyone who’s had it and they’ll tell you it’s worth a five hour drive.
Whatever the occasion, whenever I mentioned the thought of maybe coming home maybe, mom immediately asks what I want to eat. I’m usually pretty indifferent about it, but once in a while I’ll make a request. Last year when Tomato came home for Thanksgiving she made like, five requests…and therefore you all got cabbage rolls.
This time she just “happened to have some pork ribs laying around in the freezer,” and seizing the day, I suggested she make Mojo Pork Ribs with Cuban-style black beans and rice.
She thought it was an odd request, and it was a little, but since I’m currently into Caribbean foods, I figured it was my one and only chance to have someone else do the cooking for a change. Plus, mojo ribs are sort of awesome and maybe the best way that she makes ribs. And while a Cuban dish does fast forward me a bit, I am taking a note from the breezy attitude of island life, and am rolling with it. After all, I run this ship.
For a little background, Cuban cuisine mixes a bit of Spanish, a bit of African, a little Indian and a little island flair. All good things, yeah?
As for the Mojo sauce, the Cuban variety consists of lime, cumin, oregano, garlic and a bit of orange and rolled into one amazing sauce. Also good things, yeah? For a brief period, Mom went through a stint making Bobby Flay’s mojo which she claims is actually much better than store bought (duh), but if you’re not inclined to make it, she used the Goya brand all those years before.
And that’s what we’re using today because this post really is about the beans and rice.
About those blacks beans and rice, the moros y cristianos, if you will. This dish is a staple in many countries around the world. Brazil has a version. So does Mexico. And for our purposes, so does Cuba. According to Choosy Beggars, the history of this dish is as follows: the beans represent the Moors, and the rice, the Christians, and it’s a popular dish served in Spain at the Feast of St. George, where they celebrate the Muslim demise during the Reconquista.
Before we get to eating, let’s talk about THIS particular recipe. I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in sunny Florida and spent the first 10 years of my childhood in Miami. Living down there, we collected a pretty diverse circle of friends, and among them was the Pepper family. Though we moved away many, many years ago, we still keep in touch with the Peppers, and it’s from them that this recipe comes. Mrs. Pepper is Cuban and she passed along the secret to her black beans and rice to mom long ago, and it’s since been a staple in our house, and a dish often requested. Mom serves hers along side slow cooked, mojo-marinated pork ribs that just fall off the bone and together, they are peas and carrots.
- 2 slabs pork ribs
- 1 bottle Goya Mojo Marinade
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped,
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1TB cumin powder
- 1 TB Mexican oregano
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 cups converted rice (preferred brand: Uncle Ben’s)
- 1 14-ounce can black beans
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 14-ounce can chicken stock (low sodium is fine)
- 1 tsp salt
- lime, to garnish
- cilantro, to garnish
- Marinate the ribs and mojo sauce in a large plastic bag overnight, or at least four hours.
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Under the broiler, broil the ribs so there is a nice crispy coat on them, about 3 minutes per side. Once that’s done, place a rack in a roasting pan and place the ribs on top of the rack. Pour in the liquid; you don’t want the ribs sitting in the liquid. Cover the whole roasting pan with foil and let cook low and slow for about 5 hours until the meat is nice and tender.
- Meanwhile, make the rice. In a large stock pot, or the bowl of a rice cooker, add the olive oil and saute the onion, pepper, celery and garlic until translucent. Add the spices and cook another minute. Add the rice, then the liquids. Cover and cook until the rice is done. Finally stir in the beans, and let heat through. Garnish with lime and cilantro and serve aside the ribs.
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