Thursday, September 25, 2008

Martha's Cuban Black Beans

Many of you may or may not know that I am married to a Cuban. I was blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law and one that can also cook up a storm. Granted, she cooks with meat as her main course and fries nearly everything, but man oh man her beans. these black beans are the only ones she makes without a meat additive for flavor(ham hock, salt back, slab of bacon). But these beans are to die for, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have over the last 27 years(Yikes, that is a long time!)

2 cups of dry black/turtle beans(picked through and debris removed)
8-10 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt(maybe more to taste)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup sofrito
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cumin(do not omit)
1/4 cup cooking wine(whatever you have on hand will do)
I used to pressure cook these beans and that is all fine and well, but I have learned to embrace my slow cooker/crock pot. Something every kitchen should not be without, especially if you have a family.

Start these beans the night before, you will thank me at dinnertime. Place cleaned, rinsed black beans in slow cooker with water and salt. Set it on low and let it be.

In the morning if you need to add any extra water, do so, but only enough to keep beans covered. This dish is supposed to be on the thick side.

Once you have your beans covered with enough water(If it was necessary) then get out a small frying pan. Heat pan and add your oil. once it is hot over a medium-high heat then add your sofrito. It will pop and splatter a bit. Saute it for about 2-3 minutes, but stir nearly continuously. Once the sofrito is heated through add to beans...oil and all.

Now begin to add your other spices, cumin, oregano, and cooking wine.

Now here is the odd part but a must if you want the consistency you would get at a Cuban home. Take a sturdy metal spoon and take the back of the spoon to gently smash some of the black beans against the wall of the slow cooker. Do this with about half of the beans you have cooked. Remember that you only want about 1/4 of an inch of water on top of your beans. If it is any higher, then you will have gloopy(I made that word up) runny beans, and that is a no-no in the Cuban realm.

Please, if you have any questions ask away in the comment section. And as always, enjoy this dish.


River said...

Oh man, this sounds fantastic! You know, the first thing I thought about when you said you were married to a Cuban was I Love Lucy! And I do love Lucy!

Today was our grocery shopping day (we only go once a week), and we bought cornmeal so we'll be making your pancakes today! I've been waiting all week to make them - YAY!

The Cooking Lady said...

Get this River. I am a carrot top red-head and my husband(when he had hair) was a black as night and over the years we have been affectionately referred to as Lucy and Ricky.

In our homeschooling community, if someone has never met me then I let them know of my Lucy colored hair and it is much easier for them to spot me in a crowd.

Let me know how the pancakes turn out. We love them for sure.

River said...

OMG that is so cute!

The pancakes turned out fantastic... I just posted it on my other comment!

Usha said...

This salad sounds delicious...

Veggie said...

I have to try this, I love black beans and the sofrito sounds delicious.

Brian said...

I'm planning on trying this recipe this sounds great. I'm wondering how long you cook the beans after mashing half of them in the they cook on low all day and are ready to serve in the evening? Or would you remove from heat and reheat before serving? Thanks!

michelle said...

I just found this recipe and I had a question. How long do you slow cook it after you add the sofrito and at what setting?

The Cooking Lady said...

If the beans are soft enough you can leave them on your lower setting. My slow-cooker has 3 settings: Keep Warm, Low, and High.

These are a hearty bean so you can cook them quite a long time and not worry about them falling apart. But by you soaking them you have given them a wonderful head start.

But about 6 hours should do it, but if you have thee ability to keep checking on them, then by all means do so. Let me know how it goes.

michelle said...

Thanks Cooking Lady...I kept the beans on "low" over night and at 8 am this morning put them on "warm". We're doing noche buena around 9pm, so figure i'll add in the sofrito early in the afternoon, so I can give it 6-8 hours together. I'll let you know how it turns out :) happy holidays!

To The Moon and Back said...

Oh this sounds great! I wanted to make them for tonight though. Do you have to soak them overnight?

The Cooking Lady said...

You can pressure cook them, so you would be looking at about 30-45 minutes of pressuring then another 30 to cook down with the spices. So give or take 2 hours. Sorry I saw this so late.

Anonymous said...

Dear Cooking Lady, I have the beans cooking on low through the night. If I want to serve dinner at 6 tonight when do I add the Sofrito? And do I continue to cook the beans throughout the day? Or do I start cooking the beans again when I add the Sofrito?

The Cooking Lady said...

Here is my best advice when it come to any hard bean. I make them all the time so I have become somewhat of an expert.

Soak your beans overnight with a touch of baking soda. That breaks down the bean so it cooks faster and will help alleviate some gas that comes with those who do not a lot of beans.

In the morning, rinse them thoroughly and cook as you so desire. If you will not be home to keep an eye on the beans, just make sure they are covered with enough for as they expand.

I love my crock pot/slow cooker, because I work two jobs and can set it and forget it.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to drop me an email:

The Cooking Lady said...

And to answer the question, the sofrito, along with any other spices can be added as soon as you like. I prefer to add them right in the beginning.