January 10, 2008

Quick Cuban Black Beans for 2

Filed under: beans,sides — Jose @ 11:37 pm

Feliz nuevo ano, Consorte” says my friend Nikita. We chit-chat about the Holiday and he mentions he’d like to come by to say Hello. I’d just put some water to boil in my plans for a chicken soup using last night’s leftover chicken, so I mention “Si, tengo una sopita pa’ el almuerzo.


This quickly becomes a full on meal and dammit to hell, where can I get some Cuban bread! Sadly there is no such thing in my city by the bay, but there is a half hour to make black beans to go with my leftover rice.

In this scenario, if you have a can of beans, you’re 65% of the way there. ‘Cause all you need to make Cuban style black beans is two things:

1. Well cooked beans
2. Heavy duty sofrito-action

Of course there are variations and each different bean has it’s own slightly different prep and way of being cooked. But really, what separates Cuban style beans from the rest of y’alls beans is the sofrito. This ain’t no 59¢ Taco Bell pinto beans in a Styrofoam baby bowl with half-white, half-yella cheez on top.  This is some turbo legumes, Meng.

For the Sofrito:

1/2 Green, Red, Yellow, Orange or Weird Half Breed Green-Red-Yellow Pepper, minced.

1/2 Onion, Yellow but any type is good, minced.

2 Garlic Cloves, smashed, smooshed and minced.

2-3 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Cumin powder

1 tsp Red wine Vinegar

1 Bay Leaf (Laurel)

1/3 Beef Bouillon

1 cup Water

For the Beans:

1 Metal Can with cooked black beans inside. Drain the beans.

It’s goin down:

Add the olive oil to a medium heat pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the pepper starts to smell sweet, about 7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and and stir for about a minute. ¡Oh my frijoles! does that smell good right now?

Add the teaspoon of red wine vinegar, stirring to reduce the vinegar with the heat for about a minute or so. Add the cumin and stir for about 30 seconds, then add the water, the bouillon and the hoja de Laurel.


Add the beans and cover, leaving slightly ajar and SIMMER for 10-15 minutes. If the beans seem too liquid, continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally until they cook the way you like ’em. That’s it! You can double the entire recipe, more or less, and it will still be jammin. Be careful with the bouillionon, it is quite salty. If you’re not serving this over white rice, please, never visit this site again.

I’m not saying their Mami’s beans or anything, “pero se parecen de perfil, por lo menos“.




  1. Recently, I woke up one pleasant Miami December morn. It was chilly outside – 72F. I was feeling weak and unmotivated. I asked the santero who lives downstairs what he thought it might be. He asked me when I had last eaten black beans. After thinking for a moment I realized I had not had black beans even once that week – it was Thursday. Diagnosis – the level of black bean mojo in my Cuban blood had dropped to a dangerously low level. I started on the Black Bean Therapy that same day. I felt better right away.
    Your black bean recipe will keep me motivated and chipper all the days of this year.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Roy Manuel — January 16, 2008 @ 1:04 pm

  2. Roy, I need un trabajito, please let me know if your santero friend is available.

    Comment by Jose — January 20, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

  3. This never fails to hit the spot!

    Comment by Isa — January 21, 2008 @ 11:07 am

  4. […] onto a platter.  I like this best with just white rice but I ain’t gonna complain about some frijoles negros over the […]

    Pingback by Chicken Vaca Frita | arrozyfrijoles.com — January 17, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  5. Hold the bouillon!. All you need is salt to taste.Cuban beans was NEVER made with bouillon.

    Comment by Dolores Perez — January 29, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  6. Dolores, I agree with you 100% as far as making beans from scratch. But when making these quick beans, you just don’t have time to pull that much flavor. Hence the bouillon. 🙂

    Comment by Jose — January 29, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  7. I looked up how to cook up some Cuban Black beans and found this to save me since I had two cans of Goya Black beans and I could not find what I usually buy: Black bean soup. I added all the stuff from this recipe plus a bit from my own “recaito” and instead of the red wine vinegar I added a bit of balsamic to the pan. Turned out great!!! AND YES i HAD TO HAVE THE RICE!! Puertorican style..

    Comment by Michelle Johansen — February 19, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  8. I find that if I take the bay leaf(s) and boil them in a few ounces of water for a couple of minutes, then add the water (and the leaves) to the beans, the flavor infuses MUCH faster (my wife, americanita, raves over them).

    It also works for broken bay leaf bits – I would hate for someone to get the bits in their mouth, but steeped like tea, they can be strained out easily and still get the flavor from the water!)

    Comment by Michael Prieto — August 13, 2010 @ 9:55 am

  9. Michael, given that this is a “Quick” recipe, I like this technique. Otherwise, regular speed infusion is usually ok 🙂

    In the case of broken bay leaf bits, I will often use a tea ball infuser. Come to think of it, i use that thing all the time.

    Comment by Jose — August 13, 2010 @ 11:41 am

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