While camping at a brookfront Campspot in the Lost River Valley Campground, Tyler and I were winding down from a day of hiking and adventuring, thinking about what to have for dinner. Not wanting to dirty too many dishes, we decided on black beans and rice with fried plantains.
A quick and easy camping meal to add to your repertoire, this Cuban-inspired dish is the perfect combination of creamy black beans, starchy rice, and sweet fried plantains that can be made on the campfire. The serving size for the recipe below is for two people, but the recipe can easily be doubled if needed.
-1 15 oz can of cooked black beans
-1 small onion, diced
-1 cup of rice, cooked to your liking
-3-4 very ripe plantains
-Your favorite hot sauce
On a campstove or inside your camper, cook rice according to package directions. Set aside and keep warm by covering the pan.
This process moves pretty quickly so you’ll want to have all of your ingredients cut and ready. Begin by preparing your plantains.
If you’re unfamiliar with plantains, you’ve probably seen them in the grocery store near the bananas. Usually sold when unripe and green, they are significantly larger than bananas, have thicker skin, and are eaten cooked as they are very starchy and not as sweet as bananas. They can be cooked at different stages of ripeness but for this recipe, I suggest using ripe plantains with almost or completely blackened skin
To slice a plantain, begin by trimming the tips. Then, puncturing the skin, glide the knife tip down the plantain, length-wise. Using your fingers, peel the plantain skin off as if you’re opening a book. Then, slice in half, length-wise again. You can try to slice altogether length-wise initially, with the skins on, but I’ve found that this method crushes the “meat” of the plantain and that by doing it step by step, it keeps it more intact.
Set plantain slices aside.
To cut down on the number of dishes, start cooking the black beans in a 10″ (or similar size) cast-iron skillet. Heat the skillet and oil over the fire. Use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Since coconut oil heats up very easily, make sure to not overheat your oil. Bear in mind that oil heats up much faster over the fire than it would on a stove.
Add one small diced onion to the pan and stir until the onions soften and start turning translucent. Then add your can of cooked beans, including the liquid. Cook the beans, occasionally stirring, until liquid thickens and beans seem creamy. Add salt to your liking, stir one more time, and scoop beans out into a serving bowl.
After scooping the beans out of the cast-iron pan, place it back onto the fire and add about four to five tablespoons of coconut oil. Allow the oil to heat up. Because you’ll be frying the plantains, you need the oil to be hotter than when you previously heated up oil for the beans. One way to check if the oil is nice and hot is to splash a drop or two of water to see if it bubbles and reacts. Be careful of the splatters, however.
Once the oil is hot, add the plantains side by side, as if they are spooning each other. Don’t fret if pieces break as it just means they will be extra crispy pieces and those are personally my favorite. With tongs, flip the plantains over every minute until they are at least a golden brown. I like personally like mine a little darker and caramelized. Remove the plantains from the pan and onto a plate.
Serve the black beans, rice, and plantains with a drizzle of crema and hot-sauce and enjoy!