These Homemade Cuban Black Beans are the perfect addition to any Latin-inspired dish.
The sound of chopping against a wooden cutting board brings me back to my childhood, sitting at the counter of my grandparents’ Miami home, watching my mother and grandmother orchestrate a meal, usually of the Cuban cuisine. Ropa vieja, bistec de palomilla, fricase de pollo, arroz congri… these are just some of my favorites. This kitchen setting has traveled from my childhood through my young adulthood, except now I am not just watching, but partaking in the cooking choreography.
There is always wine. We each have our designated glass sitting on the counter that we periodically grab to take a sip, while simultaneously pouring wine from the bottle to the pot or pan. There is always music coming out of the speakers. The TV is off, and everyone is congregating at the kitchen counter or table, conversing and sometimes dancing. Food, however, is always the main event. This Saturday, my mother, whom I sometimes refer to as the exec chef (or jokingly my sous chef if I’m the exec that night) put on her apron and took the reigns. Ropa vieja was on the menu, with rice and black beans (made from scratch) and the usual salad with avocado. Since I’ve previously shared a recipe for ropa vieja, I want to highlight the beans.
If you have the time, dry beans are the way to go. Canned beans are easy, but they can be pulpy and overly-salted. Besides, what’s better than a 79-cent bag of beans? Here’s how to make authentic Cuban black beans…
- 1 1lb bag dry black beans (we use Goya)
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1 chorizo sausage
- 1/4 white onion
- 2 bay leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Rice vinegar
- Beef bouillon cube (we use Knorr)
- *Optional: 3 baby potatoes, halved (see instructions for reasoning)
- *For this recipe, you will need a pressure cooker
- Place black beans in a bowl, add enough water to cover them, and soak at room temperature overnight.
- The next day, pour beans with water into pressure cooker. Add more water- enough to reach the mid point of the pressure cooker.
- Add the pepper, onion, and bouillon cube.
- Turn the pressure cooker on for 15-18 minutes. Put a timer on so you don't forget.
- Once ready, let the steam out carefully. Open the pressure cooker and check the consistency. Make sure it has enough liquid and if the beans are tender, add the chorizo, bay leaves, and cook for another 20-25 more minutes.
- Check the beans and taste to see if salt and pepper is needed.
- If the broth is too liquidy, add potatoes to thicken it. The starch from the potatoes will do the trick. You can either mash them or leave them whole.
- Add a splash of rice vinegar and drizzle olive oil.
- Taste again for salt and pepper. Enjoy as a side dish over rice.