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Cuban black beans are the perfect comfort food that seduces you with its creaminess and hints of cumin. They are great on rice and as a soup, both of which are made even more delicious when accompanied by fried plantains.
Making Cuban black beans at home isn't a complicated task and the rewards are well worth the effort. There are several ways of going about it and we will examine our favorite methods. Let's get started!
Best Cuban Black Beans Recipe
The best Cuban black beans have hints of cumin and are gently flavored with onions and green peppers. They are creamy yet possess a pleasant sharpness courtesy of dry white wine and a touch of vinegar. We'll share our favorite Cuban black beans recipe below.
Best Cooking Methods for Cuban Black Beans
You can cook Cuban black beans on the stove top but it is much convenient to use a pressure cooker. A slow cooker also works well as it allows for lots of hands off time and you could cook them overnight or while you are at work.
How To Make Cuban Black Beans
To make the best Cuban black beans start by soaking dried beans overnight. For extra flavor, you can soak them with half a green pepper and a bay leaf. Drain the water, dispose of the pepper and bay leaf.
At this point you can do one of two things: sauté the aromatics, add the soaked beans then cook until tender. Or you can cook the beans and sauté the aromatics separately. The results are delicious either way but the first method requires less clean up.
The recipe below calls for cooking the beans in an electric pressure cooker. If using a slow cooker, sauté the aromatics in a pan then add them to the slow cooker along with the soaked beans and enough water to cover. Cook on low for 8 hours.
For 1lb of black beans you'll need:
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
another bell pepper sliced in half
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
The night before: soak the beans in water, one bay leaf and the bell pepper sliced in half. On the day of cooking remove the bell pepper and bay leaf, drain and rinse the beans. Set aside.
Use the sauté setting on the electric cooker. Warm up the olive oil and sauté the garlic, onions and green pepper until soft. Then add cumin powder, oregano, black pepper, tomato paste and bay leaves. Add the soaked black beans and cover with with water (just enough water to cover the beans by a 1/2 inch).
Set the electric pressure cooker to the 'beans' setting. Alternatively, use the manual function for 35 minutes. Allow for natural steam release.
Check the beans for tenderness. At this point you'll add salt, white wine, vinegar, sugar and the chopped cilantro. Stir well and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired.
The beans will taste even better the next day. If they get too thick simply thin them out with a bit of water or stock.
Cuban Black Beans and Rice Recipe
Now that you know how to cook Cuban black beans you can graduate to making moros y cristianos (Cuban black beans and rice), a name that literally translates to Moors and Christians. This rice and bean combo is also known as congrí.
Making Cuban black beans and rice is simple. You'll use your creamy black beans as a base for the rice. They will cook together and the result is a spectacular tasting dish similar in appearance to the 'dirty rice' of Louisiana.
This video from Sweets and Beyond shows you how to make it:
Vegetarian Cuban Black Bean Soup
Of course, those luscious Cuban black beans make for an excellent soup. Transforming the beans into a hearty soup only requires a few extra steps: mainly adding more liquid and pureeing half the beans to obtain a creamy consistency.