Frijoles negros – Cuban black beans

Frijoles negros – Cuban black beans

Receta de frijoles negros a la cubana - Chasseur round casserole black

With roots deeply immersed in African, Caribbean, Spanish and Taíno flavours, plus a few others, the food of Cuba is much like its neighbours. Meats, tubers, rice, beans, plantain and cuba libre.

Ok, I threw the last one in there, even if it’s origins are a little hazy.

Receta de frijoles negros a la cubana

Frijole negros is up there as being one of the more popular staples, and its ingredients seem to vary wherever you go. The base of black beans and sofrito (onions, green capsicum, oregano & garlic) doesn’t change – something that gives it its distinctive flavour – but added extras like cumin, ham hocks and tomatoes show up from time to time.

My little spin on Cuban black beans contains smoked paprika. I couldn’t help myself as I adore the stuff. It’s not all that noticeable in the end result, but it adds a certain something you’re not aware of.

Receta de frijoles negros a la cubana - Chasseur round casserole black

I’m quite happy eating this high protein, rustic dish on its own, scooped over rice with a spicy handful of sliced green chillies and coriander leaves. There’s something really nourishing about it, and if it’s served alongside a delicious slow-cooked meaty stew – even better. Especially if there are fried plantains involved.

Slightly adapted from here

Receta de frijoles negros a la cubana

 

Print Recipe
Frijoles negros - Cuban black beans
Wholesome, delicious and nourishing, this is frijoles negros - Cuban black beans that are perfect with rice and fresh chillies.
Frijoles Negros - receta de frijoles negros a la Cubana
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cuban
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cuban
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Frijoles Negros - receta de frijoles negros a la Cubana
Instructions
  1. Soak the beans in a large pot with the 2.5 litres of water overnight. Keep the beans in the water and bring to the boil, allowing it to simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium. Add the 120 ml oil. Yes, it does sound like a lot, but just go with it - olive oil is good for you. Cook the onion and capsicum in the oil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Toss in the garlic and cook for 5 minutes more, then stir through the paprika for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  3. Take 1 cup of the cooked beans and mash it through the sautéed onion and capsicum. Add this to the pot with the rest of the beans, along with the bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper. Give it a good stir, lay a lid on top - leaving a small gap for it to breathe.
  4. Simmer for 1 hour, and stir occasionally.
  5. Add the vinegar and wine and simmer it for 1 more hour, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking.
  6. Serve with rice.
Recipe Notes

I've served mine with coriander leaves and green chilli that has been cut and seared in a pan. This may not be traditional, but it does add a lovely freshness with a slight bite.

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  • Simplest dishes like this are the best. I’ve been making tortillas lately, and this would go perfectly with them.

  • I know we will love these (sans garlic, of course) – I have always thought that black beans have the most flavor. Seriously, John, I have feared traveling to Cuba thinking I won’t be able to eat anything because garlic is so prevalent. What do you think?

    • I have to say, I think garlic makes its way into almost everything there. You may have to pack your own meals!

      • That is what I was afraid of. And I also heard that it is hard to buy food/ingredients to make your own food. Maybe I could just eat flan?

        • Yes you could always just eat flan, but that could get boring very quickly. Cuba doesn’t have supermarkets as we’re used to seeing, so buying food and ingredients can be a struggle. We went into two places that sold a little food and it was mainly processed and packaged stuff. Plenty of sweet fizzy drinks to buy, mind you.

          Seeing empty shelves is very much the norm, or one very long shelf filled with a single line of one particular product, like imitation Pringles or cookies. Basics like rice, eggs, beans etc come from small ration stores. Dairy like milk, cream and yoghurt are absolute luxuries, often imported in very small quantities.

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