Cuban Black Beans

Okay kids, these beans are spicy! And they taste like they have meat in them even though they don’t! What’s the trick? Actually, I haven’t figured that out yet, although I think it has something to do with the dash of vinegar that goes in at the end. Anyway, they are freaking delicious, and if you put some Ibrahim Ferrer on the old iTunes and dim the lights (or squint) you can almost imagine you are in Havana. Buen provecho!


2 cups cooked and drained black beans (if using dried beans, rinse and soak 2/3 cup beans overnight, simmer in a covered pot for 1 and a half to two hours, or until tender, and drain)

1 small or ½ large yellow onion cut into small dice

4 cloves garlic, minced

½-1 whole scotch bonnet chile pepper (depending on your tolerance for heat), seeded and minced (do this with gloves if unused to handling hot chiles)

1 whole jalapeno, serrano, or fresno chile pepper, seeded and minced

1 whole sweet red pepper, such as baby red bell, gypsy, or Anaheim, seeded and chopped into dice

2 bay leaves

½ t hot dry mustard, like Colman’s English

2 t cumin

1 and ½ T salt

¼ cup olive oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

¼ – ½ cup water (if needed)

Fresh coriander (cilantro), picked from stems


In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, sauté the onion, garlic, and hot chiles in the olive oil over medium-low heat until the onions are transparent and starting to turn golden, about five to ten minutes. Add the diced red bell pepper, mustard, and cumin and continue to cook for another five minutes.

Stir in the black beans, bay leaves, and salt, cover, and reduce heat to low. You should not need additional liquid, as the veggies give off quite a lot, but if the beans seem dry you can add a little bit of water as needed. Simmer, covered, for another 15-20 minutes.

Stir in balsamic vinegar, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary, cover, and simmer for a further five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for an additional ten minutes. Serve over rice or on its own, garnished with fresh coriander.

Serves 4

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