Venezuelan Black Beans are nothing like your typical Mexican Black Beans. For starters, they are not spicy at all. We usually serve them as a side, but we also eat them in soups, as a filling for our famous Arepas, refried, mixed in with white rice, with Queso Blanco on top, and even with sugar on top. However, they are always present in the traditional Venezuelan Dish, Pabellón Criollo.
What you need:
- 5 Cups of Water
- 1 Cup of Black Beans (washed and strained)
- ½ Red Bell Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon of Oil
- ½ Onion
- 1 ½ “Ajíes Dulces” (Sweet Habanero or Yellow Lantern Chilli)
- ½ Garlic Head
- ½ Tablespoon Cumin
1. Make sure to pick out “bad” Black Beans and little rocks or other impurities from your cup of Black Beans and wash them as well.
2. In a large enough pot, add the cup of Black Beans and add the water to them.
3. Let them soak for a maximum of 12 hours and a minimum of 5 hours. (I highlight this step so you remember you have to do this the night before.
4. In the same pot that they have been soaking (if you soaked in a pot, not a bowl like I did), add the bell pepper and cook at a medium heat, covered, for about an hour and a half or until they become soften. Add the salt.
5. In a different pan make the “sofrito” by frying the onion, the ajíes and the garlic with the oil until they turn brown (about 5 minutes).
6. Add the cumin, stir, and remove from the heat.
7. Add the “sofrito” to the pot where the Black Beans are cooking and reduce the heat. Let this cook for another 10 minutes, or until the liquid has almost completely evaporated (depending if you will be serving them as a side or as a soup). However, it is recommended to leave a bit of the liquid so they taste better.
- If you wish to refry your leftover black beans, simply sauté them with one or two tablespoons of oil until they become dry and shinny. Top with Queso Blanco.
*Makes 4 servings.