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Sep 4, 2011 04:31 PM

How to make black beans?

We're just home from vacation in the Yucatan and I'm looking for the easiest way to recreate the delicious black beans served as a side dish in all restos - from fancy to a roadside shack. They are the consistency of refried beans. Am hoping the answer won't involve the words 'pressure cooker!' Mil gracias.

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  1. I'm not familiar with that particular dish, but it is likely to involve the word "epazote", a tenacious weed if you have it, but not always easy to find.

    1. IMHO it is very hard to screw up cooking black beans as long as you use enough water.
      Here's a good recipe:

      Traditional recipes don't use as many ingredients - see the above comment links to Mexico Cooks! and Pati's Table web sites for details.
      In summary: black beans, water, fresh lard, salt, fresh epazote, chile (I prefer just One whole habanero).

      1. I make a batch of refried black beans very nearly once a week, and so poked around on the internet for a while, curious how these varied from the version I make. As near as I can *tell*, they are much the same dish. The most basic recipe: using lard (or bacon grease) to lightly cook diced onion and (optional) garlic, turning off the heat, and then adding the beans in increments (a cup or so at a time), mashing well after each addition, and then cooking the bean paste while you stir, and then adding a bit of liquid until the right consistency is reached, and add salt to taste. I add cumin and chile powder to my onions, and toast the spices for a minute before I turn off the heat and add the beans, and use some sort of broth, instead of bean cooking liquid. Please note that some recipes would like you to add enough liquid to allow you to simmer the mashed beans for anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, while some recipes want you to only add enough to reach the finished consistency (I use the former method).

        I can see why you're frustrated at finding a recipe specific to the Yucatan . Most I've encountered on the internet seem to be recipes instructing on to add the beans as a component to another dish, without giving the recipe for the beans themselves. I only found one recipe that had anything out of the ordinary (coconut milk as part of the liquid addition), but I did also find this link (which is spicier than what I do):

        If you play around with it and are able to duplicate the beans, I'd love to hear about it. I hope my babbling has helped at least a little. Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: onceadaylily

          Thank you both so much. I can see I have some experimenting to do. We had these delicious beans with everything from eggs to tacos to steak - they're a staple in the Yucatan. Maybe if I have a margarita first they'll taste just right. Thanks again.