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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.


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

45 mins
15 mins


For the Sofrito
For the Beans


Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare the sofrito: In a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic and peppers until smooth, then add the onion and herbs and blend until smooth. Measure out 1/2 cup sofrito for the recipe, and store the rest in the refrigerator for up to one week, or the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • In a heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat bacon fat or olive oil over medium-high.. Add sofrito and cook, stirring often, until liquid is fully evaporated, and sofrito darkens in color and emits an earthy, verdant aroma, 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Add beans and bay leaves, stirring to coat. Pour in broth, bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until beans are deeply flavorful and sauce is reduced so it just coats the beans, 25 to 30 minutes. If the beans get too dry during cooking, stir in more broth or water as needed. Serve with white rice, corn tortillas, or in a bowl by themselves with crusty bread.


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.