The secret of good black beans (and of many other Cuban dishes) is a slow-cooked sofrito of onions or scallions, garlic, and green peppers.
- 1 1⁄2 lb. dried black beans
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 12 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 sheet small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sort through beans, discarding any small stones, then rinse under cold running water. Put beans, bay leaf, oregano, and 1 tbsp. of the oil into a large pot, then cover with cold water by 3". Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, adding more water as needed to keep beans covered, until beans are tender, about 2 hours.
Heat remaining 3 tbsp. of the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin, scallions, garlic, and green peppers, and saute, stirring often, until peppers are soft and scallions are golden, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add to beans. Continue cooking beans, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve with white rice, if you like.