Thursday, March 14, 2013

Aida's Cuban Black Beans - Frijoles Negros Estilo Cubano

Aida's Cuban Black Beans
This recipe is very near and dear to my heart.  In the last few years of her life I was able to get my mom to sit down and give me a usable recipe for her famous and absolutely delicious Cuban black beans and a few others too! I say usable because I never saw my mom measure anything. All her recipes were add a little of this, a splash of that, or a handful of this. Her food never varied in taste, the flavor was always consistent. To this day I will not eat Cuban black beans at any restaurant. They just don't compare - they lack the "life and soul" that they need to be truly magnificent. So here's to my mom - Aida - thanks mom for being you and making the most mouthwatering meals ever!

Serves 4 - 6

To Cook Beans:

1 lb of black beans
6 cups water or stock
1 small onion cut into quarters
4 cloves of garlic, peels removed, smashed gently
1 green pepper, cored and seeded
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Wash and soak your beans the night before. Remove from soaking liquid and place beans in a large deep pot (like a dutch oven). Add stock and the next 5 ingredients. Bring to boil , skimming any foam that may rise, and then lower heat to a medium-low.  Stir occasionally.  Cook for about 1 hour, check to make sure they are softened. Cooking times vary and depend on the " freshness" of the beans, so it could take longer. Don't add salt to the beans while they cook, because that will make them tough. Once done remove all and discard the onions, garlic and green pepper.

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 strips of bacon cut into ½” pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped

2 laurel leafs
3 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons dry white wine (Vino Seco)

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon of sugar
Salt & Pepper

While the beans cook, make a " sofrito". In a separate pan brought to medium heat add 1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add the next 5 ingredients, saute until nicely softened (about 8 minutes) and then add your garlic. Be very careful that the garlic doesn't burn. Lower heat and saute another 3 minutes. Add all ingredients under “seasonings”, cover and reduce heat to simmer gently. Incorporate all the ingredients from the sofrito into the cooking beans. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes. 

After the 30 minutes, take out about a cup of beans and using a potato masher or immersion blender to squish them up. Add them back to the beans and stir.  This makes the beans thick, so depending on how thick you like your beans is how much bean you squish. The typical consistency is not too thin and not too thick. My mom made them medium thick, she hated watery black beans and frankly so do. Remove bay leaf before serving. 

Serving recommendations:

  • Eat as a soup with a good crusty bread. If you have access to Cuban bread all the better.
  • Top with pickled onions, hot peppers, a sprinkle of apple cider vinegar or olive oil.
  • Serve over fluffy white rice and a side of beef, chicken, or pork.
  • ENJOY!


  1. Mom recipes are the best. Going to have to try this one!

  2. Please let me know how it turns out and if you like it.
    Thanks for commenting.

  3. Hi. I had to come back and comment. I made this yesterday. You weren't kidding when you said these are the most delicious black beans EVER. I think I am jaded now. Not sure I will be able to eat this at my favorite cuban restaurabnt anymore. Do you know if they freeze well?

    1. Hello Carmen! You can't imagine how happy it makes me to know that you liked the recipe. My mom would be thrilled if she were here.

      To answer your question... yes! They freeze fabulously. I think they taste even better.

      Thanks for stopping by again :-D