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Frijoles Negros: Black Beans

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN

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.

  1. 1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
  2. About 11 cups water
  3. 2 green bell peppers—1 cored and quartered, 1 finely chopped
  4. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. Kosher salt
  7. 1 large onion, chopped
  8. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 2 tablespoons sugar
  11. Freshly ground black pepper
  12. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  13. 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  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.


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