icon Frijoles Negros (Cuban black beans)
from La Bodeguita Del Medio restaurant in Prague

Frijoles Negros, or black beans, are to Cuban cuisine what knedliky are to Czech food, Bratwurst is to German food or gumbo is to Creole food.


  • 2 1/2 cups dry black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cup dry Spanish wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (2 for sautéing, 2 to drizzle on top)


  1. Wash the beans in running water, cover and soak overnight.
  2. Drain and discard water. Place the beans in a large saucepan. Add water, bring the beans to a boil, adding a little olive oil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Do not add salt at this stage. When the beans are cooked, do not drain the water from the cooked beans.
  3. While the beans are cooking, sauté the onion and pepper until translucent. Mash the garlic with salt and the and peppercorns using a mortar and pestle. Add the mashed garlic and sauté another minute.
  4. Add the cooked beans, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, vinegar, and wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the bay leaf. Thicken the beans by taking about 1 cup of beans, mashing them to make a thick paste, and mixing them back into the saucepan.
  6. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the sugar. Finally, drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over the beans. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve garnished with cilantro and chopped white onions, either by themselves or over white rice.
  8. YIELD: Serves 10


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Last updated: June 1, 2013