These beans are an excellent accompaniment to a tropical barbecue. There are many variations of preparing turtle, or black beans, throughout the Caribbean. This recipe uses a Cuban sofrito (sauted onions, tomatoes, pepper, garlic, and herbs) as a flavor base for the dishes. Remember to always add and salt or an acid after the beans are done. Adding them sooner will make the beans tough.
For the Beans:
- 1 pound black beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 teaspoon dried epazote (omit if not available)
- 1 tomato, skin removed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
- Salt to taste
For the Sofrito:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 habanero chiles, stems and seeds removed, chopped or substitute 4 rocottilo chiles
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- Place the beans in a pot and add cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and boil them uncovered for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and allow the beans to sit for 1 hour. Drain the beans and rinse them.
- Return the beans to the pot, add the epazote and 2 quarts of water. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and cook for a 1½ hours or until the beans are almost done.
- In a heavy sauce pan add the olive oil and heat over a medium.. Add the green pepper, onions, garlic, and chiles and saute for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the oregano, cumin and bay leaf and saute for an additional minute. Add the sofrito to the to beans. Cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes
- Add the tomato, vinegar, sherry, and season with salt to taste. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.