Black Bean and Yam Stew with Sofrito
Sofrito refers to the cooked onions, garlic, and green pepper that form the basis for much of Spanish Caribbean cooking. This version, made with olive oil, produces a lighter stew than the traditional recipe, which calls for salt pork or bacon. This colorful dish is rich in fiber as well as vitamin C and iron.
1 Tbs    olive oil  
1   medium onion, finely chopped  
1   small green bell pepper, finely chopped  
3   garlic cloves, finely chopped  
1 lb    yams or sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 cups), peeled and diced 3/4"  
2 tsp    chili powder  
1 tsp    ground cumin  
2   cans black beans (19 ounces each), rinsed and drained  
2 cups    chopped seeded tomatoes, or  
1   can (16 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained  
3 Tbs    chopped fresh cilantro  
1 Tbs    red wine vinegar  
1/2 tsp    tabasco sauce, or to taste  
  Salt to taste  
1 To make the sofrito, heat the oil in a medium-large skillet. Add the onion and green pepper and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Set the sofrito aside.
2 Cook the yams in a saucepan full of lightly salted water just until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.
3 In a large skillet or Dutch oven, toast the chili powder and cumin over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until fragrant and one shade darker, about 3 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, and reserved yam cooking water. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes into smaller chunks with the side of a spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is somewhat reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked yams and the sofrito.
4 Stir in the cilantro, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce.
Servings: 4
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