by Patty Joy
When I registered for our wedding 10 years ago, I apparently “needed” a crock-pot to make my kitchen complete. It sat for years in the box, until one Thanksgiving my mom expressed a need to keep the mashed potatoes warm for her guests. AH-HA! After almost 8 years I finally found a purpose for this inconveniently large kitchen “essential.”
Once it was out of its cardboard housing, there was no going back and I thought I would try & put this monstrous piece of equipment to good use and work on a few good meals. After a few failed recipe attempts, and just as I was ready to gift it to my mom, I noticed my mother-in-law had been making her delicious “Cuban” black beans in a crock-pot for years. I put Cuban in italics because my adorable Cuban in-laws have this notion that EVERYTHING originated in Cuba. It’s a funny little family joke we have but she IS Cuban, and this is HER recipe… so I suppose they are Cuban Black Beans… just please don’t tell her that! Haha!
I love this recipe for so many reasons; its super easy, very versatile, budget friendly, can be used in so many different ways, and it freezes really well!
A slow cooker, or crock-pot is a healthy and easy way to prepare a meal. I make these beans and freeze half the portion in a glass container. It’s a great side or main dish, and it’s packed with protein and fiber!
- 1 lb. Organic dried black beans (I use the ones from Whole Foods)
- 2 white onions
- ½ a red or green pepper diced
- 5 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- ½ cup dry white cooking wine (I use Edmundo from “Vallarta” a Latin market in LA)
- Sazon Goya – a unique blend of seasonings found in most Latin American markets (I also buy this at Vallarta)
- Salt to taste
The night before you want to serve your beans, place them in your crock-pot and cover them with water. Make sure there is about an inch and a half of water over the beans. Add 1 white onion, cut in half, a teaspoon of salt, and turn crock-pot on low. Now, enjoy the evening, while your beans start to soften.
The next morning add water to the beans if they soaked up all the liquid. Make sure there is about a ½ an inch of water above the beans.
In a sauté pan, add 1 Tbsp of oil and sauté 1-diced onion, ½ diced pepper, and 5 minced garlic cloves. When all that is cooked, about 5-7 minutes, add to crock-pot.
After adding the onion, pepper & garlic mixture, add ½ cup dry white cooking wine, 3 packets of sazon, and mix into the beans. Taste your mixture and add salt. The amount of salt you will add is totally personal, so just add a pinch at a time and taste. Cook on high for about 5 hours. If the beans are a bit too soupy, transfer them into a pan and cook over low heat, uncovered, until they reach your desired consistency! I like mine a little on the soupier side, so I just serve them right from the crock-pot.
I serve my black beans with rice, sliced avocado and tomatoes, some baked plantains (plantain recipe coming soon!) some pico de gallo, and a little cilantro for a delicious vegetarian meal! You can serve them with a yummy garlic roasted chicken, a juicy steak, in tacos and burritos, or even leave them a little soupy and enjoy as the main dish.
I usually end up freezing half the batch and defrosting them when I need s quick meal. I literally did that tonight and made a healthy taco salad; shredded iceberg lettuce (I just love the crunch of a fresh iceberg) black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, cilantro, Fage Greek yogurt (I use it as sour cream), some hot sauce as my dressing, and a freshly fried tostones (fried plantain) or some tortilla chips to add some crunch.
I LOVE this healthy, totally inexpensive, fiber & protein rich recipe! Hooray for the crock-pot…now if I could only find some more uses for this thing! I’d love to hear some of your favorite crock-pot recipes!
Happy cooking everyone!