Reader Amy B. wrote that her family "absolutely adores" Cuban Black Beans, including her two children, aged four and two. She serves beans with steamed vegetables, avocado, and fresh tomatoes, saying "We call them yum bowls."
Enjoy Cuban Black Beans as a change from tomato-based bean dishes, serving them over rice or wraping them in a burrito. To make black bean soup, just whirl beans and broth in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 2 hour 20 minutes to 7 hours 20 minutes, depending on cooking method used for beans. Makes 8 servings, 3/4 cups each.
12 ounces dried black beans (1 3/4 cups dried or 4 cups cooked)
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
3 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dried ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle or cayenne
- Pick through beans, removing any stones or twigs, and rinse well (see the Basic Beans recipe for details).
- In a slow cooker or a medium pot on the stove, cook beans, salt, and bay leaves in 4 1/2 cups water. Your times will vary based on the age of the beans and whether you soaked them first, but this should give you an idea about the relative speed of each way. If you have time, use the 5-hour way.
- 5-hour way — Put beans in cold water in the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on low and cover.
- 3-hour way — Put beans in hot water in the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on low and cover.
- 2-hour way — Put beans in cold water in a pot on the stove. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low.
- About an hour before the beans should be done, bite a few to check for tenderness. When beans give but are still crispy, mince garlic, chop onion and bell pepper, and then stir into beans with spices. Cover and simmer for another hour, until beans and vegetables are tender.
- Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice, wrapped in a burrito, or whirled into soup. Optionally, top with a spoonful of plain cashew cream, diced tomatoes, or salsa.
Tips and notes
- Always count bay leaves when you put them in so you know how many to take out, especially if you will be making soup or serving children or the visually impaired.