Black Beans

Everyone knows I’m enamored with beans. But there is just something about black beans that I really love. Perhaps the striking color?

Before my children were on their own, I made sure they knew how to cook beans from scratch. For one thing, beans are healthy. But they’re also extremely inexpensive, especially given the number of meals 1 pound of dried beans can provide when cooked.

Today I’m cooking beans to show how easy it is. You can eat them as is, as a side dish. But you can also turn the beans into a bean salad, a bean soup, or even refried beans – all of which will be in future posts. Plus, you can also add your cooked beans to any stew, soup, or pasta. So versatile!!!

Black beans are common in Latin American cuisines, and you’ll find them also in West African cuisines. So they’re not just for Southwestern and Mexican purposes.

All dried beans must be hydrated with water before cooking. That’s the only “rule.” In the old days, you also had to inspect the beans for stones and grit, but I haven’t had to inspect beans for years, fortunately.

Beans can be soaked in cold water overnight. But if you are in a hurry, add hot water, and the beans will be ready for cooking in two hours.

When you’re ready to start cooking, pour the soaked beans in a colander and rinse them well.

So following is my recipe for a pot of beans. Many other ingredients and also seasonings could be added, but I’m keeping the beans plain, because I am going to use them in different dishes.

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Black Beans

1 pound dried black beans, soaked, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
Broth, your choice of chicken, beef, or vegetable
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Have your beans set aside in a colander.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.

Add the onions and sauté them for about 5 minutes, without much browning. Add the garlic and stir it in for about 30 seconds, then pour in the beans.

Add broth just to cover the beans. Add the bay leaf.

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Bring the beans to a boil, then cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer the beans for about 45 minutes. I typically remove the pot from the heat, but leave the lid on to allow the beans to absorb any more liquid they need to absorb. Black beans stay whole; you won’t discover a pot of bean mash after an hour.

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If you don’t want much liquid with your beans, remove the lid and allow some of the broth to evaporate. Keep in mind, however, that you can use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked beans from the pot, avoiding the liquid. That way, you can utilize the bean broth for other purposes, like baking bean soup, for example.

Taste the beans for salt and pepper. And that’s it!

Now you can eat them as is, as a side dish. I served mine alongside a spicy pork chop, and topped the beans with some peppers and chives. Simple.

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As you can tell, the beans are fully cooked, but keep their shape.
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They have such a wonderful, meaty flavor. I really love them simply flavored. But of course, you can season beans however you wish. (see note below)

note: If you just want to make your pot of black beans more involved and flavorful, here is a list of other ingredients you can use in the above recipe:
Celery
Bell peppers, red or green
Fresh chile peppers
Adobo paste
Chipotle peppers
Canned tomatoes
Parsley
Cilantro
Seasonings like chili powder, curry powder, or a combination of Mexican seasonings such as cumin, coriander, and oregano.

By Published On: April 6th, 201525 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

25 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller April 6, 2015 at 8:39 AM - Reply

    I like beans too. When I went to Cuba black beans came with everything! So they always make me remember that great holiday :)

    • chef mimi April 6, 2015 at 9:16 AM - Reply

      You’ve been to Cuba? How fascinating!!!

      • thesinglegourmetandtraveller April 6, 2015 at 9:48 AM

        Before the blog :) In 2007. I loved it, particularly Havana, which is wonderful place. I’d love to go back sometime.

  2. Julie is Hostess At Heart April 6, 2015 at 9:20 AM - Reply

    We love black beans and use them in so many salsa and salads. I always buy cans but don’t know why I don’t just buy them dry? I am trying to use less canned goods and will be pinning this to use when I deplete my canned inventory!

    • chef mimi April 6, 2015 at 9:56 AM - Reply

      Canned beans are a high quality product, as long as you rinse them, in my opinion. I use them as well. But when you’re pinching pennies, dried is the way to go!!!

  3. MealsWithMel April 6, 2015 at 12:15 PM - Reply

    Love this Black Bean recipe! Beans are one of my favorites too… In fact I have a pot of pinto beans cooking right now :) Thanks for sharing.

    • chef mimi April 6, 2015 at 4:58 PM - Reply

      They’re the best! Especially when you’re pinching pennies, or not!

  4. Elaine @ foodbod April 6, 2015 at 1:11 PM - Reply

    Great, so useful too as I bought black beans recently :) I love all of the other flavour ideas x

    • chef mimi April 6, 2015 at 5:00 PM - Reply

      Beans are just the best! I learned a lot about grains and beans when we were really poor. And I’m so happy I did!

  5. anotherfoodieblogger April 6, 2015 at 7:06 PM - Reply

    Beans are awesome, and black beans are totally awesome! I cook with both dried and canned, depending on how much time I have and how long I plan ahead. :)

    • chef mimi April 7, 2015 at 5:10 PM - Reply

      Right. Well it’s good to know about cooking dried beans when you’re poor!

  6. Zoale.com April 7, 2015 at 10:09 AM - Reply

    Black beans are a favorite in my house. Great post and delicious looking beans :)

  7. cookingwithauntjuju.com April 7, 2015 at 11:38 AM - Reply

    I am a big fan of black beans, canned for convenience but preferably dried. Your recipe looks delicious!

  8. dedy oktavianus pardede April 7, 2015 at 2:34 PM - Reply

    Simply damn delicious!!!

  9. Feast Wisely April 7, 2015 at 10:40 PM - Reply

    Great recipe and I’m very grateful for your tip on soaking beans for 2 hours in hot water – I always seem to choose a recipe in the morning for dinner that uses beans and then think I don’t have enough time for soaking!

    • chef mimi April 8, 2015 at 7:13 AM - Reply

      Glad to help! The hot water does the trick!

  10. Passade April 8, 2015 at 6:38 AM - Reply

    Hi, black beans are so common in Latin American countries. It also saves a lot on your pocket. This is indeed a great recipe. Keep posting such articles :)

  11. milkandbun April 8, 2015 at 12:01 PM - Reply

    Black beans always look fabulous on a plate!

    • chef mimi April 8, 2015 at 12:24 PM - Reply

      I think that’s why i like them so much. The stunning black color!

  12. dianeskitchentable April 8, 2015 at 2:46 PM - Reply

    Great bean post & I’d say that was an excellent idea to school your children in beans before they left home.

    • chef mimi April 9, 2015 at 1:03 PM - Reply

      just some basic cooking, and how to cook beans!

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