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Frijoles Negros in 90 Minutes

Don’t you just love a lazy Sunday? I woke up in the morning with no plans, except for a trip to the Laundromat (which is always a massive undertaking, unfortunately). But before I left, I had a stroke of genius: Throw some ropa vieja in the slow cooker. I figured there’d be time, later, to make yellow rice. And what completes the meal? Black beans.

I know, I know, making beans from scratch requires planning and forethought, soaking and simmering. Except that it really doesn’t—as I first read on The Paupered Chef and later on eGullet, you can decide you’d like some fresh-made beans and, a mere 90 minutes later, sit down to eat. The first time I tried this method, I played it safe and went for plain ol’ beans. But that got me thinking: What if I applied spontaneous beanery to an actual recipe, flavoring the beans from the very beginning? Folks, I’m here to tell you: It works. It really works. The frijoles I made are adapted from the slow-cooker recipe I usually use, but since Harry is so vegetable-averse he’ll pick out even the tiniest bits, I made it even simpler. Big hunks of onion and whole cloves of garlic, to be fished out later. And the flavor is better than the slow-cooked version. The beans hold their shape better, with almost no split skins, and the chipotle’s smoky heat really shines through.

Got 90 minutes and a bag of beans? Make some tonight.

90-Minute Frijoles Negros
Serves 6 as a main course, 10-12 as a side

One 1-pound package black turtle beans
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
½ cup prepared sofrito
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 250. Dump everything into a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Add water to cover by one inch, and heat, uncovered, over a high flame until boiling. Turn off heat, cover, and put it in the oven for 75 minutes or so—check around the 45 minute mark and add more water if necessary [I didn’t need to]. Some beans take longer to cook than others, so if they’re not done at 75 minutes check again in 15 minutes. Before serving, fish out the large pieces of onion and the garlic cloves (or heck, if you think you’ll like ’em, go ahead and leave them in).

My beans were still the tiniest bit too firm at the 75-minute mark, but dinner was hours away so I pulled them out and let them sit, covered. By the time we sat down to eat, the residual heat had cooked them perfectly.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Ellen

    I long ago gave up presoaking beans and generally just cook a bit longer on the stove. Never thought to try them in the oven though!

  2. DailyChef

    90 minutes is really not too long to get a delicious dish like this. I love the flavoring from the very beginning – I bet the tastes soak right in. Yum!

  3. small houses

    This is an easy dish to make in a short time! I like it! Time to make some! Thanks!

  4. Cate O'Malley

    I haven't made black beans in awhile, but Nick loves them. Like your son, he will gladly fish out anything that resembles onions and garlic, so like the idea of putting bigger chunks in for flavor. Making this weekend – thanks for the recipe!

  5. cbe

    Do you have any tips for how to keep chipotles in adobo? Inevitably, a recipe calls for one, but you have to open the whole can, and can't reseal it. I never seem to find enough recipes to use them after putting them in a new container in the fridge. Why can't they make them in jars?

  6. marthaandme

    I've been on a black bean kick, so this is one I will definitely make

  7. debbie koenig

    cbe, I find that an open can of chipotles in adobo–transferred to a small airtight container (I use Rubbermaid)–will stay good pretty much indefinitely in the fridge. I've been working on this current can for at least two months now!

  8. Julie

    Black beans=our family standby…I either used canned beans, or boil/simmer dried beans…we eat beans all week, with rice and scrambled eggs, or with cheese, or in tortillas. Prob 3x/week it's our dinner.
    Look forward to trying this iteration!

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