Cuban Black Beans

This recipe for frijoles negros calls for grinding dried whole oregano and cumin seeds. If you prefer, you can substitute 2 teaspoons each of ground oregano and cumin.


Makes 12 servings

Recipe from

Southern Living

Recipe Time

Prep: 15 Minutes
Soak: 8 Hours
Cook: 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Stand: 5 Minutes


2 pounds dried black beans
14 cups water
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons dried whole oregano
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Cubanelle chile peppers, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)*
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
Hot cooked rice
Extra virgin olive oil
Sherry vinegar or cooking sherry


Rinse and sort beans according to package directions. Place beans in a large Dutch oven; cover with cold water, and let soak at least 8 hours. Drain beans, and return to Dutch oven. Add 14 cups water, bay leaf, and garlic; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 hours or until beans are tender.

Process oregano, cumin seeds, and salt in an electric spice grinder until ground and blended.

Sauté chiles in 2 tablespoons hot oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet 5 minutes; add onions, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir onion mixture and oregano mixture into beans in Dutch oven, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

Remove and discard bay leaf. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. (For a thicker consistency, remove 1 cup bean mixture, and mash with a fork; return to pan.) Serve over rice, drizzling with oil and vinegar.

*1 large green bell pepper may be substituted.

Note: If you don't have an electric spice grinder, use a mortar and pestle, or place spices in a zip-top plastic freezer bag, seal, and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet.