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Simmered Black Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs black beans, washed and picked over for stones
  • 2 qt water
  • 1 tbsp canola oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ c chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish if desired
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. The key to a great pot of black beans is using enough onion, garlic and salt for seasoning, and then cooking the beans for a long time at a slow simmer. In Mexico, a sprig of epazote or a few dried avocado leaves are usually added to the pot. Those ingredients aren’t as easy to find as cilantro, which is what I routinely use to season the beans.

  2. Soak the beans in the water for at least six hours. If they will be soaking for a long time in warm weather, put them in the refrigerator.

  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about three minutes. Add half the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute. Add the beans and soaking water. The beans should be covered by at least an inch of water. Add more as necessary, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and skim off any foam that rises. Cover and simmer one hour.

  4. Add the salt, remaining garlic and cilantro. Continue to simmer another hour, until the beans are quite soft and the broth is thick and fragrant. Taste. Is there enough salt? Does it need more garlic? Add if necessary. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator for the best flavor.

  5. Note: If you can get hold of a sprig of fresh epazote, add it to the beans in step 3.

  6. Advance preparation: The cooked beans will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator and will freeze well.

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