Beans are a staple Chez Rieux, but these are possibly the best black beans I've made.
- 1 lb. dried black beans (substitute 6 c cooked beans)
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 oz. tomato paste
- 3 small, sweet peppers (red, yellow, orange!), finely chopped (substitute 1 bell pepper)
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T cilantro, minced
- 1/2 t cumin seed
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 T cider vinegar
- cracked black pepper
This recipe needs to be started 10 to 15 hours before you want to eat it. First, soak the dried beans in plenty of water for six to 10 hours before you begin cooking. Before boiling, dump out the water and replace with enough fresh water to more than cover them. Add about 1/2 t salt, a dash of black pepper, and the tomato paste. Cover and bring to boil; then simmer over low flame for 3 hours. (If starting with cooked beans from a can, 2 hours should be enough.) You'll need to add water occasionally to prevent it from drying out and burning.
While the beans are cooking, start the sofrito. Add half the oil to a saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and some salt, and sweat for maybe 20 minutes, until the onions are very soft and yellow. Add the rest of the oil, the minced peppers, and the garlic, and let them simmer 10 more minutes. Then add the cumin seed and cilantro, and simmer for a while longer, maybe 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vinegar, and stir.
When the beans are very soft and starting to render, mix in the sofrito and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.