Fruit & Fiber: definitely not things that are missing in Colombia. The neighborhood tiendas are overflowing with fresh papaya, pinapple, mango, apples, and other less common fruits. The supermarkets have entire aisles of dried beans, too. But that’s the problem if you don’t have (or don’t want to own) a pressure cooker. A novice like myself could take over a week soaking and simmering the large frijoles, only to end up with still-hard beans. The alternative is to buy them canned, already softened and seasoned with fatty pieces of tocino (bacon).
Last weekend I walked to Exito and wandered up and down the aisles.
Lo! What doth mine eyes behold? Small, black beans? SMALL and BLACK???
And so, I decided to try once more to prepare beans from scratch. After soaking them overnight, I rinsed them then boiled them with a chicken bone for a bit of flavor.
EXITO!!! (both the name of the store and the spanish word for success).
My first batch was small, in case of failure. I blended some canned corn with leftover spicy vegetable broth and then added the black beans and whole corn kernels and simmered it on the stove for a few minutes. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.