Zenú Beans with Green Plantain
Frijoles con Plátano y Zenú Spice
Serves 4. Recipe courtesy of Maria Monsalve.
Claire’s Colombian friend Maria taught us to make her delicious beans with plantains and Zenú Spice. Maria favors cargamanto blanco beans, which are available at Latin American grocery stores and online. However, cranberry or ‘Roman’ beans make a fine substitute. Perfect served as a side or as a main over rice.
Note: You’ll need to plan ahead for soaking time. Bean cook times vary, so keep an eye on the pot. For tips on peeling green plantain, check out online videos.
½ pound cargamanto, cranberry or Roman dried beans
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 medium carrot peeled and cut in half
1 bay leaf
1 cup diced onion (small dice, from about half a large onion
1 green plantain, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 2 large cloves)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Zenú Spice, plus more for finishing
Small lemon wedge
3 scallions sliced, white and green parts
¾ cup roughly chopped cilantro
Pre-soak the beans Rinse the beans then add them to a bowl along with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Fill the bowl with cold water, covering the beans by 1-2 inches. Let soak overnight at room temperature.
Cook the beans Drain the soaking water, then add the beans to a large pot, along with 1 teaspoon of the salt, the carrot, and bay leaf. Add 5 cups of water and set the heat to high. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is determinedly simmering but not boiling. Skim away any ‘scum’ that floats to the surface. Cook until the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Scoop out the carrot and bay leaf. Thicken the sauce by using an immersion blender to purėe some of the beans, leaving most whole. (Alternatively scoop out a couple of cups of the beans and mash them well with a fork before stirring them back into the pot.)
Add the onion, garlic, plantain, olive oil, Zenú Spice, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Simmer until the plantains are soft (like potato in a stew), 10-15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally as the vegetables cook, to avoid scorching the beans, and add a bit more water if the sauce thickens too dramatically. Add a few drops of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
Serve topped with scallions, cilantro, and a pinch more Zenú Spice.