José has worked at Haven’s Kitchen since the day we opened. He learned to make moro, a dish of rice, beans, and vegetables, as a boy in the Dominican Republic. Every family has their own version of moro, but no matter the differences, rice and beans is always a comforting, fortifying, and economical meal. Serve this in a bowl with the cooking broth, a dollop of good sour cream, and Tomatillo Salsa.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- 1 POUND (ABOUT 2½ CUPS) DRIED BLACK BEANS
- EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
- 1 CELERY STALK, DICED
- ½ ONION, DICED
- 2 JALAPEÑO OR FRESNO CHILES, STEMMED, SEEDED,
- AND MINCED
- 4 GARLIC CLOVES, MINCED
- 4 SCALLIONS (WHITE AND GREEN PARTS), THINLY SLICED
- ¼ BUNCH OF CILANTRO (ABOUT 8 STEMS), ROUGHLY
- 2 FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY SPRIGS, ROUGHLY CHOPPED
- 2 OREGANO SPRIGS
- FINE SEA SALT
- FRESHLY SQUEEZED LIME JUICE
- After measuring the beans, sort them: there’s nothing less pleasant than biting into a rock. The easiest method is to pour them onto a baking sheet so you can quickly scan for and discard any stones, odd clumps, or other foreign objects.
- Sort through the beans, picking out and discarding any pebbles or foreign objects. SOAK
- In a pot or large bowl, soak the beans for at least 8 hours. Then drain and rinse them and set aside.
- Soaking beans cuts down on simmering time and allows for even cooking. If you are lucky enough to find superfresh beans, they rehydrate more quickly and require less soaking time. See Resources for my beans of preference, or buy them at your local farmers’ market, BUILD FLAVOR
- Heat a large pot over medium heat; then pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the celery, onion, chiles, and a pinch of salt. Add the garlic after about a minute. Sweat until the aromatics have softened but not browned, and the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the scallions, cilantro, parsley, and oregano.
- Here you’re building flavor with aromatics (see Tips for Layering Flavors for an in-depth explanation). Sweating is similar to sautéing but uses a lower temperature, cooking the vegetables gently and not allowing them to brown. It helps to add the garlic a minute or so after the celery and onion. SIMMER
- Stir in the beans and cover with double their volume of water. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are tender, adding extra water as needed, about 30 minutes. Add a few large pinches of salt. Continue to cook for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the beans are tender and saucy. Taste the beans and add more salt if necessary.
- You’ll often see the expression “double their volume” in recipes. It means that if the beans come 1 inch up the side of the pot, the water should come up 2 inches. Add extra water if you notice that most of it has been absorbed and the beans look like they’re drying out.
- How will you know when they’re done? Beans should be creamy in the center but still retain their shape. Bite one: it should b‘e tender but neither mushy nor firm (“toothsome”). When the beans look plump, pick one out of the pot and break it in half. The middle of the bean should have the same color as the outer edges; if the center is white or chalky, they need more time. SEASON
- ❺ Remove from the heat. Season with lime juice to taste.
- You can serve the beans as is, in their broth, or let them cool in the cooking liquid and then drain them. If you intend to store the beans for later, let them cool in their liquid before refrigerating them, covered, for up to 3 days.