This Dominican black beans recipe (a.k.a. stewed black beans or “habichuelas negras guisadas”) adapts the Dominican black beans recipe to the slow cooker. This results in the same delicious black beans, without the hassle of stove-top cooking. The calabaza squash and potato add thickness and complexity to this dish. Slow-cooking the beans allows you to set and be worry-free for a few hours. Those who have boiled beans on the stove-top before are familiar with the issues of foaming and boiling over.
I like to cook my legumes from scratch and only use canned beans when the dry ones are not available. There was a time I got to help my mother thresh the beans straight from the pod and cook them, no dehydration involved. Threshing bean pods was repetitive and therapeutic, similar to what cross-stitching feels like. I picture my mother’s old kitchen with its polished cement floor as we threshed. Conversation was pleasant; it was a bonding experience.
For this recipe I am using ground annatto seeds (bija) instead of tomato paste. If you would like to use tomato paste instead, add it an hour before serving, dissolving the tomato paste in two to three tablespoons of the beans’ water on a small frying pan before adding it to the slow cooker.
If you cook beans, soups, rice dishes or stewed meats often, you may want to make your own home-made seasoning and freeze in handy cubes to add to your meals.
- 1 lb. dry black beans
- 4 garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
- ½ red or white onion
- 1 medium potato
- 1 cup cubed calabaza squash
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 teaspoon of ground annatto seeds (bija)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ¼ bunch of cilantro
- 6 cups of water
- Clean and wash the beans as needed and place on the slow cooker with the water. Set the slow cooker on low for four to five hours.
- Crush the garlic and chop the onion in small pieces.
- Clean and chop the cilantro in one-inch pieces or leave it whole and remove before serving if you don't like the look of chopped cilantro in your beans.
- Cut the potatos and carrots in small cubes (approximately ½ inch by ½ inch).
- Cube the calabaza squash in bigger cubes of 1 inch by 1 inch.
- Two hours before serving, add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
- Add the salt, the ground annatto seeds and the pepper, stirring slowly.
- Half an hour before serving, taste the beans and check for thickness. Adjust ingredients if needed and adjust temperature to high to achieve further thickness.
- Serve as a side dish to plain rice or eat by itself.
- Left over beans keep well for a week in the refrigerator.