I ate Jamaican food for the first time this past January, at the wedding of two dear friends. It's amazing stuff, I tell ya; bold and vibrant flavors, but simple at the same time. Loved it! So when I came across a recipe called Jamaican Black Bean Pot in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Complete Vegetarian published by Hermes House, I couldn't resist adding it to the weekly menu (along with my own alterations), particularly since it fits all the requirements for this "mostly meatless" week. I can assure you, you will not miss the meat or flavor in this gorgeous dish! I paired it with my deluxe cornbread and we came away from dinner with thoroughly happy mouths and stomachs!
Take your mouth on a trip to the Carribean, it will thank you!
Jamaican Black Bean Dinner
1 1/4 cups dried black beans (or you can use canned - about 3 cans)
1 bay leaf (will not use if doing canned beans)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried pepper flakes
1 2/3 cups vegetable stock
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
5 cups butternut squash (1 medium squash, about 1.5 lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
salt and ground black pepper
1.) Soak beans overnight, making sure water covers all beans. Drain and rinse well. Place in large pot and cover with fresh water and add bay leaf. Bring the water to a boild and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, coer and simmer for 30 minutes more, until beans are tender. Drain.
2.) Heat oil in a large sauce pan and saute onion for 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
**Adding garlic too soon can cause the garlic to give off a bitter taste so be sure not to add it until the end and only cook it for 1 minute.
3.) Add mustard, molasses, sugar, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minutes, stirring constantly.
4.) Stir in the black beans and pour entire mixture into a deep baking dish.
5.) Add the vegetable stock/broth and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
6.) Add the peppers and squash and mix well.
7.) Cover pan and bake for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
**Serve with cornbread or rice for a simple, yet excellent meal!
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