Brazilian Black Beans

Black beans are a staple in Rio de Janeiro where I am from. When I worked at the 'Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro' (American School of Rio de Janeiro) I remember that black beans and rice were an option every day, despite what the main menu was. The Americans teaching there quickly learned to love black beans.

I particularly, think black beans look kind of ugly on a plate, but they are delicious. There are many ways to season beans. I season mine with garlic only. Some people add onions as well, and it is very common to add small pieces of sausage to it, which will confer the everyday black beans a 'feijoada' taste. Beans take a long time to cook and that is why in Brazil everybody uses a pressure cooker to cook beans.

Brazilians can get really passionate about 'their way' of making black beans and of course their way is the best way, so if you show this recipe to a Brazilian it may not be met very positively.

One of the first questions foreigners ask me is, “How do I eat this? What do I put first on my plate?” You usually eat beans with rice and you either put the beans on top of the rice or right beside the rice, kind of overlapping. 

What You Need:
1 lb black beans well washed under running water (usually a bag)
4 or 5 cloves garlic crushed
1 tablespoon cooking oil (I like Canola oil)
1 teaspoon salt
7 cups water

What To Do:

Gather the ingredients. Make sure the beans do not have any little rocks mixed with them. You do not want to break a tooth while eating beans.

Put the beans in a pan with water ...

... and salt.

Bring it to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover the pan and let it simmer for about 2 hours.
After one hour check if the beans are soft. Cooking time may vary according to the brand of the beans. It will also depends on how soft you like the beans. I like them very soft and it will produce a thick 'sauce' for the lack of a better word.
If you use a pressure cooker the cooking time is about 40 minutes.

Now it's time to season the beans with garlic.

Put crushed garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
(If you put it over high heat it will burn  quickly)

Let the garlic turn dark golden brown but be careful to not let it burn.

To avoid spilling put the pans close to each other (the pan with the garlic and the pan with the cooked beans).

Put two scoops of the cooked beans in the garlic and press it with a potato masher.

Then transfer the whole thing to the pan with the cooked beans.

Taste to see if you need more salt.
And then your beans are ready :)

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