The foundation of flavor for these savory, creamy beans comes from sofrito, a base of sauteed aromatics that Diaz grew up eating thanks to her Puerto Rican family. You will produce more sofrito than needed for this recipe, but you can store additional sofrito in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Use it as a base for soups, stews, and other bean dishes. Note: If using home-cooked beans instead of canned, you may need 1/2 to 1 cup of additional broth.
Culantro—also called Chinese cilantro, sawtooth herb, or wild coriander—has long leaves with jagged edges and a stronger, earthier flavor than cilantro. You can find it in the produce section of most Latino markets, as well as many Asian markets. But if you can’t find it, substitute equal parts cilantro and parsley.