We teamed up with our favorite Latin American pantry brand, Loisa, to bring you our spin on habichuelas negras, classic Puerto Rican stewed black beans. This recipe brings together our thoughtfully sourced ingredients in a complex and hearty stew, created by Milena Pagán of Little Sister in Providence, Rhode Island.
Get the ingredients in our limited-edition Taste of the Caribbean kit!
I love a good pot of slow-cooked black beans! It always reminds me of my home in Puerto Rico, where my father takes me to a Cuban restaurant with outstanding black beans and roasted cornish game hens. Their beans are creamy, almost fully fallen apart into their stew, and topped with finely minced onions and cilantro. I learned very early on that all-natural and sustainable meals are not only better for your health, but they're well worth it for the flavor too. I am convinced black beans are infinitely better when cooked from dry instead of canned, and although it takes a bit of extra time, you will be glad you did once you give your beans a taste.
For this recipe, I was really excited to play with Chaparro Black Beans from Primary Beans. Known for their unique flavor and rich broth, Primary Beans’ Chaparro Black Beans are grown in the coastal hills of Guerrero, Mexico where Chaparro has been delicately preserved for generations. Primary Beans is on a mission to provide heirloom beans to every cocina, and celebrate the variety of beans that offer diverse flavors, textures, and stories.
There are many different ways to prepare your habichuelas, but for me at home, making sumptuous black beans from dried takes half a day, as I typically soak the beans in cold water the night before. In this case, these habichuelas from Primary Beans are so fresh, you can skip the pre-soak. I recommend enjoying these beans over white rice, or mixing them in like this Haitian rice and beans recipe. You can also fully blend the beans after cooking to make a creamy black bean soup.
– Milena Pagán (@littlesisterpvd)
- 2 tbsp homemade* or prepared sofrito (such as Loisa's Sofrito)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 onion, diced ¼ inch
- 1 cubanelle pepper or green bell pepper, diced ¼ inch
- 5 leaves of recao/culantro, chopped finely (if available)
- 1 thin handful of cilantro, chopped finely
- 2-3 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
- 1 heaping tbsp adobo or to taste (we used Loisa's Adobo)
- 1 tsp sazón or to taste (we used Loisa's Sazón)
- ½ lb dried Chaparro beans
- 1 qt stock (vegetable or chicken)
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sofrito, garlic, onions, peppers and herbs to the pot. Cook down until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, adobo, and sazón and stir to combine.
Add the beans and broth to the pot and let it come to a soft boil. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with more adobo as needed
Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the beans. Allow the beans to cook for about 2 to 3 hours until the beans are tender, checking every 30 minutes.
Once tender, serve beans while hot. For creamier beans, scoop out 1 cup of beans and blend it until smooth, then incorporate it back into the pot. Cool down to store in the fridge. These beans will freeze nicely as well (up to six months)!
*To make Puerto Rican-style sofrito at home, process the following until smooth and season with kosher salt to taste: 2 Spanish onions (peeled & quartered), 2 cubanelle peppers (seeded and cored), 1 red bell pepper (seeded & cored), 1 bunch cilantro, 18 cloves garlic (peeled), 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 bunch recao/culantro (if available).