With roots deeply immersed in African, Caribbean, Spanish and Taíno flavours, plus a few others, the food of Cuba is much like its neighbours. Meats, tubers, rice, beans, plantain and cuba libre.
Ok, I threw the last one in there, even if it’s origins are a little hazy.
Frijole negros is up there as being one of the more popular staples, and its ingredients seem to vary wherever you go. The base of black beans and sofrito (onions, green capsicum, oregano & garlic) doesn’t change – something that gives it its distinctive flavour – but added extras like cumin, ham hocks and tomatoes show up from time to time.
My little spin on Cuban black beans contains smoked paprika. I couldn’t help myself as I adore the stuff. It’s not all that noticeable in the end result, but it adds a certain something you’re not aware of.
I’m quite happy eating this high protein, rustic dish on its own, scooped over rice with a spicy handful of sliced green chillies and coriander leaves. There’s something really nourishing about it, and if it’s served alongside a delicious slow-cooked meaty stew – even better. Especially if there are fried plantains involved.
Slightly adapted from here