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