ALIDA'S BLACK BEANS
Many years ago Alida was a guest in my house and she taught me this recipe for black beans. She generously agreed to let me share it with others. It is my favorite kind of recipe — one that relies on a few simple principles and can be easily adapted for the ingredients one has on hand. I’ve reproduced it here as she described it to me and as we made it that day, but feel free to substitute as your palate desires.
Clean and rinse your beans.
Cover with 2 inches of water. Bring it to a rapid boil, then lower to a simmer. Go about your business and every 10 minutes or so stir them.
In about 1½ to 2 hours, when the beans are soft, add salt to taste.
Add sliced olives and capers and a tablespoon of their liquid. Then simmer ’til yummy and soupy.
Now sofrito onions, chives, garlic, tomatoes, maybe a green pepper or something. Make it delicious with what you have at hand.
Add the sofrito to the frijoles with a bit of pepper and herbs such as oregano and thyme.
Before serving add a bit of olive oil, cilantro and (if you’re really sophisticated) a bit of red wine.