Frijoles Negros: Black Beans

Their thick consistency and slightly sweet flavor make these black beans distinctly Cuban. The sweetness is nicely balanced with lots of garlic and a hit of red wine vinegar. To check for doneness, pinch a bean with your fingers: If it feels soft, it's ready.

Slideshow: Fast and Easy Ethnic Recipes

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  • Servings: 6


  • 1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
  • About 11 cups water
  • 2 green bell peppers—1 cored and quartered, 1 finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the beans with 10 cups of water and the quartered green pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand until the beans are softened, about 1 hour.

  2. Return the beans to a boil and cook over very low heat until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Discard the green pepper.

  3. In a skillet, heat the oil. On a work surface, using the side of a large knife, mash the garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon of salt; add to the skillet. Add the onion and chopped green pepper and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add 1 cup of the beans to the skillet and mash to a paste.

  4. Scrape the paste into the beans in the saucepan. Add the oregano, bay leaf, sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add the remaining 1 cup of water, or enough to just cover the beans, and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are thick, about 15 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaf and serve.

Contributed By Published May 2009

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