Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow Cooker Cuban Black Beans

I love beans.  They are a tasty and inexpensive source of protein and fiber with possibilities for endless incarnations in everything from salads to burritos to fancy sides.  On Sunday, dare I say it, I may have made my best pot of beans ever.  And thanks to my slow cooker, it was ridiculously easy.  New England is experiencing a bizarre-o global warming heat wave at the moment, so rather than craving all things pumpkin, I found myself hankering for something island-inspired, and so these Cuban black beans were born.
Photo via Technorati
I often find that bean recipes lack the depth of flavor I am looking for in a main dish.  To remedy this, I went big with some ingredients that pack a punch, using a whole bunch of cilantro and six whole garlic cloves in this pound of beans.  Don't be afraid!  The result is an assertive, delicious, authentic tasting dish that stands out as an entree and will steal the show as a side.
Slow Cooker Cuban Black Beans
1 lb dry black turtle beans
1 large sweet onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 8 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 slices bacon, diced (Optional! Veggies can omit this ingredient, you may just want to add a bit more salt to your recipe.)
1 large bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Rinse beans and soak overnight.  Even though the slow cooker will cook them completely without this step, if you soak, drain and rinse your beans before cooking them, some of their gaseous properties leach out and are removed, and you'll experience less stomach upset from having a big bowl o' beanies for dinner.  Highly advised.
2) Drain and rinse your beans.  Place in slow cooker and cover with water. 
3) Add all other ingredients except the cilantro.  Start with about a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  
4) Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  
5) With an hour left to go in the cooking time, add the cilantro, and taste to adjust for salt and pepper.

I served these beans as our Sunday dinner with basmati rice, sour cream, chopped avocado and hot sauce for garnish (Warning: taste first before adding hot sauce!  These beans have quite a kick without it, the hubs and I just love our food practically on fire).  They would also make a phenomenal side for any Caribbean or Latin-inspired dish (I'm thinking jerk chicken, fish or tofu, a citrus-y slow cooker Cuban chicken I like to make, spicy shrimp, or shredded beef tacos), and the beans would also be very tasty inside a quesadilla or burrito.  This is one of those Sunday suppers that can truly live on through the week in many different meals without anyone tiring of it. 

Finally, one more shout out for my slow cooker.  I'm a little obsessed with it, as you can tell. Here's why: I chopped things for about 10 minutes on Sunday morning, opened a couple of cans, pushed a button and walked away.  As the day went on, the house filled with the most incredible aroma of spicy goodness. Then, all I had to do to make dinner was put on a pot of rice, and we enjoyed a delicious and healthy meal with almost no effort and very little clean-up.  I cannot think of a better piece of kitchen equipment for families and all busy, working people!
Viva Frijoles!


  1. We're planning for tacos tomorrow evening, this would be perfect! Going off to buy the ingredients we don't have over my lunch break! Will report back. :-)

  2. I love taking a bag of black beans and turning it into wonderful recipes all week long. Hurrah for slow cookers. They are a huge help during a busy week.

  3. could not find my slow cooker...imagine!!! but i did make this recipe on a slow and low on the range...We quite liked it...thanks...i sent along the uneaten in a container with the hunters headed out...a little something to warm their campfires, too :) thanks so much.