These delicious Lazy Beans are a slow-cooked-all-day kind of meal. The perfect recipe for a cook who wants to sit on the porch with a cold drink, and only occasionally check in with dinner.
You could use a cast iron pot (dutch oven), use a slow cooker while you’re away for the day, let them bubble over hot coals while you’re camping, or just make a quickie version of this recipe in any old soup pot.
After traveling through Cuba, we couldn’t get over the flavour and texture of creamy, well-spiced Cuban Black Beans that seemed to be a common side dish to most food we ate while there. They are sometimes called “Lazy Beans” because you can throw all your ingredients into the pot at the beginning of the day, and then just let it go on low heat, only stirring occasionally, until your beans transform. Some folks told us that their mothers or grandmothers let the beans continue to cook on ultra-low heat over night, so that they have even more flavour. We don’t recommend falling asleep while you have beans on the stove, though. Just sayin’.
Depending on whose Abuelita made the beans, the “secret recipe” for the perfect pot changes. Here is our best version of Lazy Beans, done in an even lazier style for maximum result with minimum effort.
These classic Cuban "Lazy Beans" are made even lazier by using canned black beans instead of dried ones. Ready in 2 hours - or 8, depending on how lazy you want your beans to be.
2 1/2 - 3cupswateryou may add more later if necessary
2tbspolive oilSee "Non-Veggie" version for alternative
Non-Veggie version: Begin with some bacon or pork/chorizo sausage in the pan (traditionally, a pork bone is added to the pot while cooking to add flavour and pulled out later). Cook the meat until there is enough fat rendered off to then begin adding your veggies and continuing on with the usual recipe. Using pork is an essential step to starting a pot of Cuban beans, but we find that there is no lack of flavour when we make a completely veggie version with olive oil instead.
Veggie version: In a medium/hot pan with a little olive or vegetable oil, add your onions and let them clarify - sprinkle them with a little of your salt to help them get going.
Once your onions are smelling sweet and looking a little translucent, add your sweet and your spicy peppers. Stir your veggies up, and let them begin to sizzle.
When your veggies are becoming soft, but are not yet browning, add your beans, your garlic, herbs & spices (Oregano, bay leaf, cumin, chili, salt, pepper), and then finally your vinegar. Stir up that mixture for just a few seconds - coat the beans with the spices and vinegar.
Add enough water to almost cover all the beans & veggies - about 2 1/2 cups, but add 1 cup at a time until you have enough. You may add more water later on if the beans are too thick or the water is boiling off too quickly.
Cover, reduce your heat to it's lowest setting (or dump steps 1-3 all at once in your slow cooker and set it for 6 hours - boom. done), and come back to stir your beans once an hour or so - more often if your pot is causing the beans to stick or burn to the bottom of the pan - add more water if you need). The beans will remain whole & shiny for the first 2-3 hours, then each time you come back to stir the beans, you'll notice them beginning to break down, and eventually the beans will become very creamy and soft. You can press your spoon against the side of the pot as you stir if you don't have all day to let them cook down - these beans can have a super slow-cooked feel and flavour in just 2 hours of low & slow cooking. You also don't have to cook all the beans down - leave some intact so that your dish has texture.
When the beans are the texture that you want and you are satisfied with your spice & salt levels, you're all done. I also like to add one more little splash of vinegar right at the end before I stir them up and serve them, just to make sure they have that tangy taste I really like.
Serve with some raw, finely chopped onion on top for extra flavour. These beans are an excellent side dish to any salad, fish, or BBQ main, but we eat them on their own all the time. Use your leftovers for breakfast the next morning, either served with an egg or scooped in to a corn tortilla!