Matos Family Black Beans

Matos Family Black Beans with Primary Beans Organic Negro beans


Creator notes 

I adapted this recipe from my Puerto Rican grandma, Adeline Matos (or, as my sister and I called her, “Mom Mom”), who got it from her mother, who probably got it from HER mother! Generations of matriarchs! Mom Mom would make these beans from dried black beans typically Goya brand and I know she would’ve loved how delicious Primary Beans Negro beans are in the recipe. We always ate it with white rice growing up, but I’ve also treated it like soup and served it with crusty bread! I hope you love it, and definitely encourage you to write down the recipes from loved ones in your own family it’s a very special way to save memories that can be recalled every time you cook.

–Dani Dillon

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Featured bean: Negro

Take 'em from dried to cooked with our guide

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What you'll need

The beans

  • 2 1-lb bags dried Negro beans
  • 1 small Spanish onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 small green bell pepper, stemmed and cored
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 large Spanish onions, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 green bell peppers, stem and core removed and then diced small
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

To finish

  • 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar, to taste
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup dry white wine, to taste (you can also swap in Shaoxing Wine, if you don’t keep white wine in the house)
  • White rice, for serving


Cook the beans: Place dried beans in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot (with a 10-qt capacity) and add plenty of cold water (no need to pre-soak!). I typically fill the pot up leaving about 2-inches of space at the top. Add onion, green bell pepper, and bay leaves. Season the cold water with salt until you can just taste it, and then turn on the heat to high. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for about 1½-3 hours, or until beans are soft. (Primary Beans has some great tips on cooking beans, too, and you can save time by using a pressure cooker!) You may need to add a bit more water to the pot towards the end of the cooking process do so if the beans look like they’ve absorbed most of it, and don’t forget to add an additional pinch of salt when you do.

Make the sofrito: When beans have about ~30-minutes left to go, start making the sofrito. Heat olive oil in a separate large, heavy-bottomed pan on high heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic along with a nice pinch of kosher salt. Let it come to a sizzle and then cook for a few minutes, stirring, until onion turns translucent. Add green bell pepper and a bit more salt (season as you go!) and reduce heat to low. Cook “low and slow” until the sofrito is melty and dreamy. This should take a long time, 20 minutes at least, but ideally you use up all of the time you have while your beans finish cooking. When the sofrito is soft and melty, add the cumin, cayenne, oregano, and ground black pepper. Let all of those flavors meld together. 

Combine beans and sofrito: When beans are soft and sofrito is done, it’s time to combine them! Use a pair of tongs to carefully remove the pieces of green bell pepper and Spanish onion that the beans cooked with, and discard them. Next, carefully pour cooked sofrito directly into the pot with the beans. Make sure to use a spatula to scrape the sofrito pan, transferring all of those delicious flavors and infused olive oil into the bean pot! Give it a nice stir to combine.

Simmer everything together: Simmer for another ~30 minutes to bring those flavors together. To thicken beans, use a spoon or ladle to take out about 1 cup of the beans and mash them together in a little bowl with a fork. Add back to the pot and stir. Add white sugar, apple cider vinegar, and white wine. Let it go another 15 minutes longer and then taste. Adjust any of the seasonings– salt, apple cider vinegar, wine, and sugar as you see fit!

Serve: Serve with white rice. I love how the flavor develops stored in the refrigerator overnight and reheated the next day. The beans also freeze beautifully! 


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